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XVin. The Government of the Ottoman 
Empire in the Time of Suleiman the 
Magnificent. By Albert Howe L\b\-er, 
Professor of European History in Oberltn 
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"Our empire is the home of Islam; from father to son the 
lamp of our empire is kept burning with oil from the hearts of 
the infidels." Mohammed II, the Conqueror. 

" A lord and his bondsmen." Ranks. 

" Les Turcs . . . n6es de la guerre et organis6es pour la 
conqufte." Cahun. 

" The Ottoman government . . . seems to have attained 
during the sixteenth century the highest degree of perfection of 
which its constitution was capable." Robertson. 


Oxford University Press 






The Ottoman Turks, after the world had long despaired of 
them, have in these last years shown signs of renewed vigor. 
The time is, then, perhaps not inauspicious for an examination 
of the structure of their organisation in the period of its greatest 
power and prestige. It is not easy for the present age to reahze 
how large the empire of Suleiman bulked in the eyes of contem- 
poraneous Europe. Amid the vast energies and activities, the 
magnificent undertakings and achievements, of the marvellous 
sixteenth century, nothing surpassed the manifestations of power 
that swept forth from Constantinople. The following pages 
will have been worth while if their incomplete presentation 
shadows forth, however dimly, the secrets of Ottoman greatness 
and success. 

This book was originally prepared in partial fulfilment of the 
requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Harvard 
University, and was subsequently awarded the Toppan Prize. 
The writer desires to acknowledge his very great indebtedness 
for advice, suggestion, and criticism to a number of kind friends 
with whom he has consulted, but especially to Professor A. C. 
Coolidge and Professor G. F. Moore. Nor can he let the book 
go to press without recording his extreme obligation to his wife 
for unwearying assistance at every stage of its preparation. 

A. H. L. 

Oberlin, Ohio, 1912. 




Ideas Constitute a Nation 3 

The Background of Ottoman History 5 

Character and Mission of the Ottoman Empire 7 

The Racial Descent of the Ottoman Turks lo 

Seljuk and Ottoman Turks in Asia Minor 14 

The Sources of Ottoman Culture 18 



Definition 25 

The Limitations on Despotism 26 

The Territorlal Basis 28 

The Peoples 33 

Institutions of Government 35 

Contemporary Descriptions of the Two Great Institutions . 38 



I. General Description 45 

II. The Slave-Family 47 

Methods of Recruiting 49 

The Tribute Boys 51 

Estimate of the System 53 

The Slave Status 55 

The Harem, the Eunuchs, and the Royal Family ... 56 

Other Ottoman Slave-Families 58 

Character of Ottoman Slavery 60 




I. The Missionary Motive 62 

The Ottoman Attitude 63 

Other Motives for Incorporating Christlans 65 




The Requirement of Conversion 66 

Sincerity of Conversion 68 

Effect of the Process 69 

II. The Educational Scheme 71 

The Colleges of Pages 73 

The Harem 78 

The Ajem-oghlans 79 

Advancement Based on Merit 82 

Punishments 88 


The Military Aspect 90 

The Janissaries 91 

The Succession to the Throne 93 

The Spahis of the Porte 98 

The Feudal Spahis 100 

Officers of the Feudal Spahis 103 

Other Bodies of Troops 105 

Discipline and Ardor 108 

The Supreme Command 109 

Indivisibility of the Army iii 


I. Privileges of the Kullar 114 

Nobility not Hereditary 117 

II. Character of the Sultan's Court 120 

Organization of the Household 123 

The Harem 124 

The Inside Service 126 

The Outside Service 128 

The Ceremonies of the Court 133 

Influence of the Court 141 


Summary 146 

Functions of the Ottoman Government 147 

The Sultan as Head of the State and of the Government . 150 

The Sultan as Legislator 152 

The Legislation of Suleiman 159 

The Viziers 163 



The Defterdars or Treasurers 167 

Taxation in the Ottoman Empire i75 

SuLEiiiAN's Income i79 

The Nishanji or Chancellor 182 

The Divan or Council 187 

The Ruling Institution as a Whole 193 



General Description 199 

Financial Support of the Moslem Institution 200 

The Educational System 203 

Clergy, Seids, and Dervishes 206 

Jurists and the Mufti 207 

The Judicial System 215 

The Moslem Institution as a Whole 224 



Likenesses 227 

Differences 230 

Interactions 232 

The Relative Power of the Institutions 233 


I. The Second Book of the Affairs of the Turks 

Written in 1534, supposedly by Benedetto Raaiberti. 
Translated from the Italian 239 

II. Pamphlet of Junis Bey and Alvise Gritti 

Printed in 1537. Presented in the original Italian 262 

III. Incomplete Table of Contents of the Kanun-Nameh, 

OR Collection of Edicts, of Suleiman the Magnificent 

as arranged by the Mufti Ebu Su'ud 

Translated from the Turkish 276 

IV. The Government of the Mogul Empire in India 

General Comparison of Ottoman and Indian Conditions . . 278 

The Personnel of the Mogul Government 279 

Relation of Government to Religious Propagation ..'... 2S3 

The Army 285 



The Court 287 

The Government Proper 292 

The Moslems and the Moslem Church 299 

Books consulted in the Preparation of Appendix IV .... 303 

V. Bibliographical Notes 

i. Origins of Ottoman Governmental Ideas 305 

ii. The Ottoman Government in the Sixteenth Century . . . 307 

iii. Alphabetical List of Works Cited 322 


INDEX 339 





Ideas Constitute a Nation 

A nation, when considered from its earliest to its latest days, 
is much more a body of ideas than a race of men. Men die, 
families decay, the original stock tends to disappear; new 
individuals are admitted from without, new family groups take 
the lead, whole tribes are incorporated and absorbed; after 
centuries the anthropological result often bears but slight resem- 
blance to the original type. Undoubtedly the fabric of ideas 
which a nation weaves as its history develops also undergoes 
changes of pattern; old principles pass out of sight, and new 
ones, born of circumstance, or brought in from without, come to 
controlling influence. But ideas are not, Hke men, mortal: 
they can be transmitted from man to man through ages; they 
can be stored in books and thus pass from the dead to the li\'ing; 
when built together into a soHd and attractive structure, they 
impart to the whole something of their individual immortality. 
Singly they pass as readily to strangers as to kindred; when 
organized to rounded completeness as the culture of a great 
living nation, they have a power which lays hold of men of many 
races, alone or in masses, and in the absence of strong prejudice 
compels acceptance. 

Such an assimilative force can clearly be seen in vigorous 
operation in the United States of America today, A system of 
ideas, woven of countless threads spun by Egyptian, Babylonian, 
Hebrew, Greek, Roman, and Teuton, preserved and enlarged 
by Frank, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and Enghshman, recombined 
in a new and striking pattern by the founders of the repubhc, 
is thrown over men from every nation under heaven, who under 
its influence all become of one type, not to be mistaken wherever 
it is seen. 



The history of the Ottoman Empire reveals the constant 
working of a like assimilative force. It was not merely, and not 
even mainly, the compulsion of the sword that built up and main- 
tained the strongest national power of the sixteenth century. 
Swords must be wielded by men; and how were enough strong 
and capable men found and bound together in willing cooperation 
to conquer large sections of Europe, Asia, and Africa, to organize 
and govern their conquests in a fairly satisfactory fashion, and 
to establish a structure which, after more than three hundred 
years of decay, disaster, and disintegration, has yet enough 
strength to form the basis for a new departure ? The only 
answer possible is that the attraction of a great body of national 
ideas gathered men from every direction and many races to unite 
in a common effort. Although much violence, injustice, and 
destructive passion was involved, the result was a great and on 
the whole a durable and useful empire. 

The government of the Ottoman Empire when at the height 
of its power cannot be understood from a description of its court, 
costumes, ceremonies, and officials, with a catalogue of their 
provinces and duties. A thorough comprehension of the main 
political ideas that constituted the life of the empire is essential. 
Since most of these ideas were old and tried, and were wrought 
in a thousand ways into the general scheme, a complete treat- 
ment w^ould demand that they should be considered historically 
from the time of their adoption. Nor would it be sufficient to 
go back to the beginning of the house of Osman. The Turkish 
nucleus which gathered around him, and the Mohammedans 
and Christians from near and far who joined his rising fortunes 
were already in possession, in a fairly systematic form, of most 
of the ideas of the completed Ottoman government. The 
inquiry should be begun farther back, among Byzantine Greeks, 
Seljuk Turks, Mohammedans of Persia and Arabia, and Turks 
of Central Asia. Many of the ideas, indeed, can be traced yet 
farther, through Tartary to China and through Parthia and 
Rome to Babylon and Egypt. 

These origins, however, cannot be considered here except in 
the briefest possible fashion. All that can be done is to outhne 


the background of Ottoman history, the general character of 
the Ottoman Empire and its service to the world, the racial 
descent of the Ottoman Turks, and the main influences which 
affected their institutions and culture. 

The Background of Ottoman History 

From early times the developing Chinese civilization in the 
valley of the Yellow River had to contend with intermittent 
attacks from the barbarians of the north and west. In the latter 
half of the third century B.C. China's work of domestic consoHda- 
tion and centralization reached completeness, and foreign con- 
quest began. The policy was then initiated which has never 
since been departed from, — the subjugation of the outlying 
lands and the cultural assimilation of their inhabitants.^ Fol- 
lowing up with armies, governors, and garrisons the nomads 
who fled to the west, by the beginning of the second century a.d. 
China held vassal all the population of the steppe country from 
the Great Wall to the Caspian Sea; her frontiers marched with 
those of Parthia. Early in the third century she entered upon 
four hundred years of weakness, and her western possessions 
fell away; but she regained strength and restored her western 
dominion just in time to confront the rising Saracen flood. 
During three brilliant centuries, the seventh, eight, and ninth 
of our era, she held the nomads in fairly constant subjection, 
and presumably taught them many of her orderly, organized 
ways. It was probably in part by the strength of her discipline 
that in the succeeding half-millennium the descendants of these 
nomads, Turks and Mongols, wrought their will from the Sea 
of Japan to the Adriatic, over most of Asia, half of Europe, 
and a goodly portion of Africa. 

From the eighth century Turks drifted southwestward in 
ever-increasing numbers out of Chinese territory into the declin- 
ing Saracen Empire. Early in the eleventh century an army 
followed this course and set up the vast but short-lived empire 
of the Seljuk Turks. These broke the eastern frontier of Asia 
Minor, which had protected the Greeks and Romans for fourteen 

^ Cahun, Introduction a VHistoire de rAsie, go. 


hundred years, and pushed on until they could see the domes o: 
Constantinople. The eastward pressure of the crusading perioc 
kept them from European shores for two centuries, near the close 
of which the Mongols overran their disintegrated lands. ^. 
remnant, the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, struggled on in Asif 
Minor until the close of the thirteenth century, when it fell intc 
ten parts. The East Roman, or Byzantine Empire, had by thai 
time also been thoroughly wrecked, and the Balkan Peninsula 
was divided among Frank, ItaHan, and Catalan, Greek, Serb 
Albanian, Wallach, and Bulgarian. 

The people of one of the ten fragments of the Seljuk Sultanate 
of Rum took the name of Osmanlis from their chief Osman, 
Located on the border of the Greek and Turkish groups oi 
principalities, they drew men and governmental ideas from both 
The rapidity of their growth from so small a beginning, and undei 
such apparently unfavorable circumstances, into a durable stat€ 
is one of the marvellous things of history. In about two and a 
quarter centuries from the time of their independence they were 
able to attempt for the last time to unite the entire Mediter- 
ranean civilization into one empire. North Africa, Eg}^t. 
Syria, Arabia, the Tigris-Euphrates valley, Armenia, Asia 
Minor, Greece, the Balkan Peninsula, a large part of moderr 
Austria-Hungary and of modern Russia, were theirs; the> 
threatened Italy, Central and Eastern Europe, and Persia, 
They thus held all three of the earhest centers of Mediterranear 
civilization, the western half of the Old Persian Empire, and all 
the dominions of Rome except the northwestern one-third. 
Apart from Spain and the lands east of the Zagros Mountains, 
they ruled the Saracen Empire. With the exception of Ital> 
(with Illyricum and the adjacent islands) and the short-lived 
Byzantine conquests in Spain, the empire of Justinian lay within 
their boundaries. The later Byzantine Empire became the 
heart of their dominions, and its two chief supports — the trade 
which passed through the Bosphorus and the products and mer 
of Asia Minor — became their own principal supports. The 
inheritance of lands and of institutions by the Ottoman Turks 
from the two great medieval empires of the Levant, the Saracer 


and the East Roman, is by all odds the most pregnant fact of 
their existence. They were the immediate heirs of a part of 
the territory and of the whole of the culture of the Seljuk Turks. 
The scene of the " world's debate " formed but an insignificant 
part of their dominions. They gathered into one net all the 
shoal of feudal, royal, and imperial powers which made the 
Levant of the thirteenth century as decentralized as the Holy 
Roman Empire or the Italy of the fifteenth century. 

Character and Mission of the Ottoman Empire 

This rapid survey leads to a number of significant observations. 
First, the Ottoman Turks of the sixteenth century ruled countries 
wholly within the sphere of the Mediterranean civilization. 
The only possible exception was the steppe lands north of the 
Black Sea; but these had been almost as much under the sway 
of Rome and Constantinople as they ever were under that of 
Stamboul. Even communication with Eastern and Southern 
Asia was well-nigh cut off. The road to China north of the 
Caspian Sea alone remained open, but after the break-up of 
the Mongol Empire it had become long and dangerous. The 
rival and hostile New Persian power firmly closed the southern 
land route to India and China; and even the sea-way from 
Egypt eastward was blockaded by the newly-arrived Portuguese. 
Thus the Ottoman Empire, except in remote origins, which, 
indeed, profoundly influenced it, grew and flourished within 
what is commonly considered the main field of history. Accord- 
ingly, it has a greater claim upon the Western world on the score 
of kinship than has hitherto generally been allowed. 

Second, within the Mediterranean civilization the Ottoman 
Empire combined regions of both Orient and Occident. The 
classical world knew chiefly Romans, Greeks, and Orientals. 
The Ottoman Turk succeeded to two-thirds of this world, the 
lands of Greece and the East. From the day of Issus to the day 
of Menzikert, Asia Minor had to all intents and purposes been 
a part of Europe. After Menzikert it became a center of Turk- 
ish rule, to which, in the course of time, territories from both 
Asia and Europe were added in widening circles. No deep 


knowledge of historical forces is necessary to suggest that neither 
in Southern Europe nor in Asia Minor itself could the teachings 
of fourteen centuries or more be obUterated in five centuries or 
less, or even in an eternity; nor would they fail to exert a pro- 
found influence from the moment of conquest. To regard the 
Ottoman Empire as a mere Oriental state would be to misread 
history and to misunderstand human nature. Its lands were 
of both Orient and Occident, so also were its people, so also were 
its culture and its government. 

Third, the Ottoman Turks drew men and ideas from both 
Mohammedans and Christians. They have commonly been 
regarded as wholly Mohammedan, and therefore they have 
been shut off by a well-nigh impenetrable barrier from the sym- 
pathies of a world still possessed by the prejudices of crusading 
days. The foundations of such prejudices are easily open to 
attack. The main religious ideas of Mohammedanism are not, 
except as to the divinity of Christ, inharmonious with those of 
Christianity; they were, indeed, in all probability drawn chiefly 
from the reUgious teachings of the Old Testament. The social 
system of Mohammedanism is also much like that of the Old 
Testament. Its most objectionable features, the seclusion of 
women, polygamy, and slavery, may be regarded as survivals 
from an older condition of mankind out of which a portion of 
the human race has emerged — not without frequent cases of 
atavism — and which Mohammedans themselves are tending 
to abandon. But, leaving aside the question of the kinship of 
Christianity and Mohammedanism, no one can deny that the 
Ottomans ruled over many Christians, that many of their 
ablest men and families were of Christian ancestry, and that, 
according to the nature of humanity, as much of their civihzation 
and ruling ideas may have come from Christian as from Moham- 
medan sources. 

It is true that as a nation the Ottoman Turks remained Mo- 
hammedan; this has constituted the real " tragedy of the Turk." 
Bound hand and foot by that scholastic Mohammedanism which 
was reaching rigid perfection at the time when the Turks first 
became prominent in the Saracen Empire, and which only in 


very recent days seems tending toward a Reformation, they 
could not amalgamate the subject Christian peoples, already 
confirmed in nationalism by the events of centuries. The 
deadening system stilled their active spirits, imprisoned their 
extraordinary adaptability, and held them at a stage of culture 
which, though in some respects it distinctly led Europe in the 
sixteenth century, was before long passed through and left 
behind by the progressive West. Nevertheless, the Turks 
were no more limited to Mohammedan ideas than to Moham- 
medan men, and they are entitled to be considered in the light 
of their double origin. 

Fourth and last, the great task before the Ottoman Turks 
was a work of unification. Lands which had been united under 
the great Theodosius, and then during eleven centuries had been 
more and more disintegrated by invasion of German, Slav, Arab, 
Tatar, and Turk, by war of Byzantine, Persian, Moslem, Cru- 
sader, and Mongol, by destruction of roads and safe water-routes, 
and by general decay of civilization, until confusion and disorder 
reigned and anarchy seemed not far ahead — these lands were 
once more brought under a single control. Was it their destiny 
to be genuinely reunited, not merely in a common subjection, 
not merely by an external shell of authority, but in the pulsing 
life of a vigorous nation, harmonious in every part and run 
through by patriotism ? This was the well-nigh insoluble 
problem which the Ottoman Turks attempted bravely. How 
they solved the administrative and governmental phase of it 
the present treatise will try to show. Religious unity was 
out of the question; and in the sixteenth century, in East and 
West ahke, social and cultural unity waited upon the religious. 
Had the Ottoman Empire been able four hundred years ago to 
set apart religious considerations as matters for the individual — 
a process which affords the chief hope of the new Turkey of the 
twentieth century — her whole subsequent history must have 
been very different. 

But in the measure in which unity was attained in the Levant 
under the Ottoman authority, in that measure did the Ottoman 
Empire render service to civilization and humanity. After the 


dose of the thirteenth century Western Europe, absorbed in its 
own affairs, was able to give little attention to the East. Two 
centuries were taken up with the consolidation of national powers, 
chiefly at the expense of feudalism and the medieval church. 
By the sixteenth century a measure of internal solidarity had 
been attained and the struggle for external supremacy over the 
West had been begun. The whole situation was complicated 
by the actively leavening force of the New Learning and the 
explosively rending force of the Reformation. Under such 
circumstances even the advance of the Turks into Central 
Europe could only temporarily divert attention from absorbing 
problems and direct it toward the East. To what a state of 
minute division and infinite disorder the Levant would have 
come by that time, had the Ottoman Empire not grown up, 
can only be imagined. Egypt, the only Levantine power of 
consequence after the close of the crusades, had reached the 
natural limits of her dominion, and had she aimed at wider 
conquests the Mameluke government would scarcely have been 
capable of imperial sway. No other of the countless princi- 
palities of the eastern Mediterranean showed enough Hfe to 
accomplish unity. But the Ottoman Turks, cruelly and destruc- 
tively, imperfectly and clumsily, yet surely and effectively, 
built up and maintained a single authority, to which the world 
probably owes most of that measure of enlightenment, culture, 
and order which can be found in the Levant today. 

The Racial Descent of the Ottoman Turks 

The question as to the origin of the Ottoman Turks was raised 
in Western Europe as soon as the race began to appear upon the 
stage of history. There seemed to be something mysterious and 
uncanny about their rise to power. If an innumerable horde 
of strange barbarians, a second invasion of Attila, had overrun 
the Levant and settled down to rule its conquests, cause and 
effect would have been apparent. But this nation seemed to 
arise out of the earth. Organized and disciplined beyond any 
parallel in the West, it seemed to come from nowhere and to 


begin at once to take a very real part in human affairs.* The 
problem of its origin is by no means completely solved as yet, 
but the main elements can perhaps be outlined. A search for 
these carries the inquiry to the steppe lands. 

The great band of open country which stretches with hardly 
a break across the whole of Asia and far into Europe resembles 
the ocean both in its vastness and in its character as an inter- 
mediate region through which the travel of commerce, states- 
manship, religion, learning, and curiosity can pass between more 
thickly-settled lands. It differs from the ocean, however, in 
being everywhere more or less habitable. The ethnic relations 
of its families, tribes, and nations are by no means clear. China, 
with a markedly Mongolian population, lay at the east and south- 
east; Indo-Europeans of the Caucasian race dwelt at the south- 
west and west. The tribes between seem from the earliest re- 
corded times to have presented every intermediate stage of 
physical type, as they do now; and in general the shading from 
yellow to white appears to have proceeded regularly from east to 
west, a circumstance that may have been due largely to climatic 
influence, but was probably far more the result of admixture.^ 
These peoples were given to frequent warfare, one of whose 
objects was the capture of men, women, and children as the most 
valuable booty. They seem to have had no race aversions that 

' The West was much concerned in the sixteenth century with the problem of 
ascertaining the origin of the Turks. Balbus gives an idea how difficult it was 
to reach a definite opinion: " Some count the Turks among the Asiatic Sarma- 
tians, and say that they were expelled by their neighbors from the Caspian moun- 
tains into Persia, and descended into Asia Minor. Others, following the name, 
perhaps, think that this people had its beginning in Turce, a great and opulent 
city of the Persians. Others consider them the progeny of the Parthians. Some 
think the Turks had their origin in Arabia, and some in Syria. But it is more likely 
that they were Scythians by origin, and (as we said above) from the foot of Mount 
Caucasus, and that they formerly inhabited vast deserts." See also KnoUes, 


^ Keane, Mayi, Past and Present, 268, 314-315. Holdich (in Encyclopaedia 
Britannica, nth ed., ii. 749 b) says, " .-^s ethnographical inquiry advances the 
Turk appears to recede from his Mongolian affinities and to approach the 
Caucasian." Keene {Turks in India, i ff.) is inclined to consider the Turks a 
mere mixture of Mongols with Caucasians. So bald a theory does not account 
for the group of Turkish languages. 


would hinder inter-mixture, and no race pride that would prevent 
captives, in the course of time, from attaining full equality in 
any rank to which their abilities could carry them. Accordingly, 
the process of admixture that can be observed in historic times 
has probably been followed from the remote past. 

The name Tatars may be used to designate all the inhabitants 
of the steppe-ocean who were not distinctly Caucasian. By 
geographical designation they are properly called the Ural- 
Altaic peoples, while ethnically they constitute the Mongolo- 
Turki group. ^ Included perhaps among those unclassified 
peoples who were known of old to the Greek as Scythians, to the 
Persians as Turanians, and to the Chinese as Hiung-nu, the 
Tatars, despite many differences, show unmistakable kinship, 
usually in their physical features, always in their language and 
institutions. They have been grouped since medieval times 
into two great divisions, the Mongols and the Turks. This 
division may be said to correspond in a very general way to their 
greater and lesser resemblance to the Chinese, and to a narrower 
and wider geographical separation from China. Many tribes 
possess such intermediate characteristics that they cannot 
easily be classified as Turks or Mongols; ^ but a tribe that is 
markedly hke the Chinese is clearly Mongol, and a tribe that 
differs widely from the Chinese is clearly Turkish. If these 
explanations be adopted, the Turkish peoples are then in general 
those Tatars who have had the greatest admixture of Caucasian 
blood. Their original seat seems to have been in MongoHa, 
but in historic times they had come to occupy the whole central 
part of the steppe region, from the Desert of Gobi to the Volga, 
in contact with their Mongol kindred on the east and with 
Iranians on the south and Slavs on the west. The theory of 
admixture receives support from the fact that the peoples of the 
Mediterranean civilization found MongoHans repulsive in appear- 
ance, but prized Turkish slaves for their beauty.^ 

The name Turk does not appear prominently in the Byzantine 
and Chinese annals before the fifth century a.d., when the people 

^ Keane, 267. ^ Ibid. 322; Hammer, Geschichle, i. 3. 

^ Ibid. 317. 


of a Tatar empire were designated TovpKot and Tu-kin} The 
word Turcae was used by classical writers soon after the begin- 
ning of the Christian era.^ The name has been suspected of 
lying hidden in the Targitaos of Herodotus and the Togharniah 
of Scriptures, However this may be, ancestral peoples possess- 
ing the characteristics of the Turks of course existed, and perhaps 
appeared in history, in very early times. 

Some have suggested that the Sumero-Accadians of Babylonia 
were Turks, but this question hardly bears on the present subject. 
The relations of Turks and Persians on the Central Asian frontier 
is much more apropos. The legends of the long wars of Iran 
and Turan, however little detailed historical value they may 
have, illustrate the circumstances of continual contact both in 
war and in peace.^ Princes and nobles whose lives were forfeit 
in their own country fled over the border; princesses were 
exchanged in marriage; and unnumbered thousands of less 
exalted folk passed the frontier as captives or slaves. The 
frontier itself was not fixed, but left great regions now to the 
rule of the Persian and now to the rule of the Turk. The Par- 
thians may have been Turks.'* After their downfall the Knes 

* Keane, 322; Hammer, Geschkhle, i. 2; etc. 

2 Hammer, Geschkhle, i. i. This fact, known to KnoUes (p. 2), seems to have 
escaped the attention of Sir Charles Eliot {^Encyclopaedia Britatmka, nth ed., 
xxvii. 470 d). 

2 The older view, that Iran represented peoples of Indo-European stock, and 
Turan peoples of Ural-Altaic stock, though once so generally adopted as to sanction 
the bestowal of the names Iranian and Turanian upon these groups of peoples, 
has been abandoned as regards the orii^inal legends, in which Turan seems to have 
represented ruder tribes of Indo-European lineage (Meyer, Geschiihte, i. pt. ii. 
814-815). But the Greeks from their first acquaintance with the name identi- 
fied Turan with the Scythians, and at about the same time the Persians began to 
apply it to the Northern peoples of alien stock. The conditions of frontier contact 
between Turks and Persians during many centuries were undoubtedly as described 
in the legends. 

* Rawlinson, Parthia, 33-35; Keane, 319. Meyer (in Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica, nth ed., xxi. 214 c) regards the Parni or Apami, who became the conquer- 
ing tribe in Parthia, as Iranian nomads; but Peisker (in Cambridge Medieval 
History, i. 332) asserts that the nomads of the Asiatic background all belong to 
the Altaian branch of the Ural-Altaian race. The fact that the Parthian army 
was a slave army (see Meyer, as above, 217 a) is perhaps the strongest piece of 
evidence that the original Parthians were Turks. 


of Persian and Turk were drawn sharply by the nationalist 
Sassanians. From the middle of the fifth century, indeed, the 
Persians had their fill of wars with the Ephthalites, whose appel- 
lation of White Huns may indicate their mixed MongoHan and 
Caucasian origin; the Chinese annals specify the kinship of the 
Tie-le with the Tu-kiu. No sooner had the Arabs engulfed 
Persia than they began to welcome the Turks whom they found 
to the north, and whose semi-nomadic culture was singularly 
like their own. The Saracen Empire was administered for about 
a century chiefly by Arabs, for another century chiefly by Per- 
sians, and after that chiefly by Turks, who rose rapidly through 
slavery and military service to the rule of provinces and even 
of kingdoms. Thus great numbers of Turks came or were 
brought into many parts of Western Asia. When Toghrul, 
grandson of Seljuk, led the first great Turkish invasion into the 
heart of the Saracen Empire, he found his kindred everywhere. 
Under the Seljuk Sultans large numbers of Turks streamed in 
and were settled in Persia, Azerbaijan, Syria, and Asia Minor. 

The Turkish occupation of Asia Minor has been called the 
most thorough piece of work done by the race.^ Few details 
of it have been recorded, but one great fact stands out: under 
the Byzantine Empire, Asia Minor was Greek, Christian, and 
the home of the empire's most vigorous and loyal citizens; under 
the Ottoman Empire, Asia Minor is Turkish, Mohammedan, 
and the home of the empire's most vigorous and faithful subjects. 
The process of this transformation, so far as it is known, deserves 

Seljuk and Ottoman Turks in Asia Minor 

The Seljuk Turks were orthodox, and often fanatical, Mos- 
lems; accordingly they put great pressure upon the inhabitants 
of the peninsula to make them exchange Christ for Mohammed. 
" Great numbers apostatized, * many thousand children were 
marked by the knife of circumcision; and many thousand 

1 Keane, 327. Asia Minor is here used in the larger sense, as denoting in 
general the Asian territory which lies west of a line drawn from the eastern end of 
the Black Sea to the head of the Gulf of Alexandretta. 


captives were devoted to the service or the pleasures of their 
masters.^ ' " 

The Seljuk Turks were already a mixed race, and had no greater 
objection than their ancestors to the reception of new members. 
They had come as a Turkish army followed by a host of Tur- 
coman nomads.2 The soldiers took wives from the women of 
the land and servants from the men and children, and the nomads 
filled the gaps left among their women and children after the 
long, hard journey. Those of the adult Anatolians who were 
left free found a thousand temporal advantages in following 
the Prophet, whose simple faith and consoling doctrines, more- 
over, suited both their temperament and their circumstances. 
Christianity had sat hghtly upon many of them, and Moham- 
medanism seems to have been accepted as lightly; for traces 
of Christian and perhaps of pre-Christian practices and behefs 
can be seen among the Moslems of Asia Minor today. ^ To turn 
Moslem was then, as ever since, to turn Turk. In the course 
of three centuries the process of settlement and conversion 
reached virtual completion ; nearly all the plateau of Asia Minor 
became Mohammedan and Turkish. Nothing approaching 
the nature of statistics is available for determining what the 
proportion was between invading Turks and converted Christians. 
The probabilities, based on the known character of Turkish 
invasions and the length and difficulty of the journey from the 
steppe lands, point to a relatively small number of Turkish 
settlers.^ Yet this doubly-mixed people has contributed those 
subjects of the Ottoman Empire who are accounted the most 
characteristically Turkish. 

The invasion of Western Asia by the Mongols of Genghis 
Khan in the early part of the thirteenth century drove an un- 

^ Quoted in Kcane, 328, from Gibbon (cd. Bun'), \\. 250. 

* Vambery, Die Primitive Cultiir, 47; Keane, 328; Cahun, Introduction, 169 fl.; 
Ramsay, Studies in Eastern Roman Provinces, 295. 

8 Ramsay, Studies in Eastern Roman Provinces, 297. This statement has been 
confirmed by conversation w'xXh. other persons well acquainted with conditions in 
Asia M inor. See also E. Huntington, in National Geographic Magazine, September, 
1910, p. 767. 

* Vambery {Die Primitive Cultur, 47) expresses the opinion that the Ottomans 
never received, all told, more than 25,000 men of Turkish blood. 


known number of Persians and Turks to take refuge in Asia 
Minor. Among these is said to have been a group led by a 
chief named Suleiman, whose grandson Osman gave the Otto- 
mans their name.^ This group reached the Seljuk kingdom of 
Rum, and was allowed by good custom of the time to proceed 
to the Christian frontier and conquer what it could. About 
the time of settlement tradition specifies the number as four 
hundred famihes, or 444 horsemen, a figure which has clearly 
been shaped with reference to the sacred number four, but which 
shows the behef that the group was not large.^ The growth of 
this band was far more rapid than could have been accomphshed 
by natural increase. A part of the additional membership was 
suppHed by Turks and other Moslems of adventurous spirit 
who sought the fighting and booty of the border-land. But 
these were by no means all. The Ottoman traditions and history 
reveal at countless places the hospitable incorporating spirit 
of the embryonic nation, which rapidly increased its numbers 
from the Christian population by conversion, marriage, and 
capture, and most strikingly by the tribute tax of Christian 
male children. The Ottoman conquests to the eastward brought 
gradually into the brotherhood all the Seljuk Turks of Asia 
Minor, and as many as were or became Mohammedan from the 
various conquered peoples — Greeks of Trebizond, Armenians, 
Syrians, and others. The conquests in Europe converted en 
masse some sections of Bulgarians and Albanians, who still 
show evidence of their origin ; a very great number of individuals 
among the subject Christians, however, were so completely 
incorporated as to lose all trace of their source. Thousands 
upon thousands of captives from the whole of Southeastern 
Europe, from all of Southern Russia and Poland, from the 
Caucasus region, from Central Europe as far as Regensburg 
and Friule, and from the shores and islands of the IMediterranean 
were likewise incorporated; till, as a result of all this Western 
admixture, the ruling nationahty of the Ottoman Empire, 

^ Ottoman is an attempt to pronounce Othman by those who pronounce th like t; 
Osman a similar attempt by those who pronounce th (as in " thin ") like 5. 
2 Hammer, Geschkhte, i. 42-43. 


though called Turkish today, retains no physical trace whatever 
of Mongolian ancestry.^ Many of its members undoubtedly 
have no Tatar blood in their veins; as for the rest, they are, 
if the above discussion be well founded, a mixture of Europeans 
chiefly with Turks of Asia Minor, who were themselves a mixture 
of the former Christian population with Seljuk Turks, while 
these again were a mixture dating back through countless ages 
of contact between the white and the yellow races. A simple 
computation will illustrate the matter. Osman is said to have 
captured a fair Greek lady named Nenuphar, or Nilufer, the 
Lotus-flower, and to have given her as bride to his son Orchan, 
the first of the Ottoman sultans.- From that time it became 
increasingly the policy of the sultans to take their wives from the 
Caucasian race.^ If Orchan be set down as of pure Mongolian 
descent, and if it be supposed, as is certainly very near the truth, 
that all the mothers of succeeding sultans were not of Turkish 
blood, and if the mother be assumed to contribute to the child 
an influence equal to the father's, the proportion of Mongolian 
blood in the veins of the reigning sultan, who is of the twentieth 
generation from Orchan, can readily be calculated, — about 
one part in one million.'' Similar proportions would hold good 

* Keane, 268, 316. Peschel, 380, says, "The Turks of the west have so 
much Aryan and Semitic blood in them that the last vestiges of their original 
physical characters have been lost, and their language alone indicates their previous 
descent." On the other hand, E. Huntington (in National Geographic Magazine, 
September, 1910, p. 767) expresses the opinion that the inhabitants of the central 
part of the plateau of Asia Minor are " almost purely Turkish in race." He does 
not say, however, that this opinion is based on observation of physical appearances. 

2 Hammer, Geschichte, i. 59. 

' Keene, 2, makes the interesting suggestion that this custom, followed 
mutatis mutandis by the Moguls of India, was a survival of exogamous conditions 
among the ancestors of the Turks. 

* The twentieth power of § is 1/1,148,576. The description given of Orchan, 
furthermore, shows scarcely a discernible trace of Mongolian ancestrj'. Compare 
Hammer, Geschichte, i. 158: " Mit demselben [Osman] waren ihm zwar die 
Bocksnase und die schon gewolbtcn schwarzen Augenbrauncn gemcin; aber er 
hatte blonde Haare und lichte Augcn, die Statur und die Slirne hoch, die Brust 
breit, die Faust kriiftig wie die Klaue des Lowen, das Gesicht rund und die Farbe 
desselben weiss und roth; dor Korperbau stark, der Bart und Knebclbart dicht 
und wohlgenahrt." Murad II showed a little more evidence of Tatar descent. 
He " is," says La Broquiere, 181, " a man of stout build and short body, and he 


for many of the Osmanli Turks. Probably the nation as a 
whole has no more of Tatar blood than the American nation 
has of Norman. 

The Sources of Ottoman Culture 

The question at once arises: What significance, then, has 
the name Turk as applied to modern Turkey ? To this query 
a general answer only can be given here, as part of a rough 
statement in regard to the derivation of the main elements of 
Ottoman culture. 

Of the whole body of ideas and institutions and intangible 
inheritances possessed by the Ottoman Turks in the sixteenth 
century, no small number of the most fundamental ones were 
derived from the remote Tatar ancestors of a part of the nation, 
from whom even this part was far separated in time and space. 
Foremost among these inheritances is the Turkish language, 
which in its principles of monosyllabic stem, inflexion by post- 
fixes alone, and assonance, and in its general system of grammar 
and body of words of ordinary life, has survived from the early 
days through all vicissitudes.^ Old Turkish is the Anglo-Saxon 
of the Osmanli, as Persian is his Greek and Arabic his Latin. 
Somewhat more hospitable than those who use Western lan- 
guages, the Turk has nearly always accepted with a foreign 
thing its foreign name; and the great majority of the foreign 
words and phrases so accepted he has not changed in any way, 
except to modify the pronunciation of some sounds about which 
the tongue does not readily curl. Among other Tatar bequests 
to the Osmanlis may be named the hospitable assimilative 
tendency to which reference has already been made; a predis- 
position to war and conquest, accompanied by an openness of 
mind as to the best methods and means of prevaihng; an ability 
and inclination to govern, combined with great adaptability as 
to methods and means; and some acquaintance with systematic 

has something of the broad face of a Tatar's physiognomy, and he has a rather 
large hooked nose and rather small eyes, and he is very brown in the face, and he has 
plump cheeks and a round beard." 
^ Keane, 266. 


and bureaucratic methods of government impressed upon 
the nation by the Chinese. Again, the Tatars, possessed of the 
tenacious conservatism of a primitive people, predisposed the 
Ottomans to a close adherence to custom — to the doctrine 
that, when a thing had been done once in a certain way, it should 
always thereafter be done in the same way. Finally, the Tatars 
contributed various elements of the national character, such as a 
touch of the old love of nomad life, a certain stolidity of spirit 
and calm sobriety of temper (taught, perhaps, by the vastness 
of the steppe in comparison with the littleness of man), and a 
lack of originality which hindered the construction of freely- 
borrowed ideas into new forms of higher relation. In general, 
therefore, the foundations of the national character of the Otto- 
mans were laid in the early days, in a body of ideas which was 
passed down continuously from man to man, not so much through 
blood-relationship as through willing acceptance or enforced 

The nature of a Tatar nation in the steppe lands, manifesting 
many of the elements mentioned above, is extremely significant 
as foreshadowing some features of the Ottoman government. 
A Tatar nation was a voluntary association, independent of 
kinship, formed about a promising leader, and interested in 
war and conquest; thus it might grow with extreme rapidity 
until the geographical extent of its dominion would be marvel- 
lous. The empire of the Tu-kiu, for example, gathered in about 
twenty-five years after its foundation territories which reached 
from China proper to the confines of the Byzantine Empire. 
The leader of such a nation maintained his control by the right 
voluntarily given him to punish treason and conspiracy by death ; ^ 
when his controlling hand grew weak, the nation went to pieces. 
" A Turkish tribe could maintain a political organization and a 
compact grouping only by war; without benefits from pillage 
and tributes, it would be obliged to dissolve and to disperse by 
clans, whose fractions would group themselves anew, and form 
another nation about the strongest man. ... In regard to 

1 Compare the election of Sebuktegin, in Sch^fer's edition of the Siasset Nameh, 



empires like those of the Huns, or the Turks, military associations 
without ethnic bonds, one cannot say that they dissolve; they 
disband. Reversing the custom of other peoples, with the Turks 
it is the king who feeds his people, who clothes them, who pays 
them." ^ Add to this system a loyalty to a hereditary leader 
which makes the bonds of union permanent, and the description 
would apply fairly well to the growing Ottoman nation. A 
passage from the Kudatku Bilik applies yet more closely, since 
it shows a mihtary government in the midst of a subject popula- 
tion : 2 — 

"In order to hold a land one needs troops and men; 
In order to keep troops one must divide out property; 
In order to have property one needs a rich people; 
Only laws create the riches of a people: 
If one of these be lacking all four are lacking; 
Where all four are lacking, the dominion goes to pieces." 

The ancient Persian seems to have given the Ottoman at long 
range a number of his ideas of government, such as the exaltation 
of the monarch, the separation of officials of the court from 
those of the government proper, the division of the ministry 
into five departments, the council of state, the giving of large 
powers to local governors, and the beginnings of the so-called 
" legal " system of taxation.^ From him also seems to have 
come the policy of allowing subjects who professed alien religions 
to form separate organizations, which lived in a measure under 
their own laws. One writer goes so far as to say: " All investi- 
gations into the oldest state regulations of the Orient, into the 
origin of monarchical forms and constitutions, into the cere- 
monial of courts and the hierarchy of ofi&cials, lead back to the 
great kingdom of the ancient Persians, from whom they have 
come down more or less modified, to the Arabs, who sat as 

* Cahun, Introduction, 79. 

2 Vambery, Uigurische Sprachmonumente und das Kudatku Bilik, 118. This 
passage closely resembles the words attributed to Artaxerxes I, first king of the 
Sassanian Persian hne: " There can be no power without an army, no army without 
money, no money without agriculture, and no agriculture without justice " (Raw- 
linson, Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy, i. 6i). 

3 Hammer, Staatsverjassung, 36-45. 


caliphs on the thrones of the three continents, to the Seljuk 
Turks and the Byzantines, who at the same time grew up on the 
ruins of the Saracen and Roman kingdoms in Asia and Europe, 
and through both to the Ottomans who swallowed up the king- 
doms of Iconium and Byzantium." ^ The Sassanian Persians 
handed down through the Moslems the completed " legal " 
system of a land tax of two sorts based on cadasters, and a 
capitation tax levied on those who practised a foreign religion. 
They may also have contributed many features of the Ottoman 
feudal system. During the Abbassid period the Persians and 
the Turks who gradually displaced the Arabs in the civil and 
military administration of the Saracen Empire were thrown into 
very close contact with each other. It was only natural, there- 
fore, that the Persians, who possessed the more advanced cul- 
ture, should influence the Turks in many directions. Their 
chief direct gift lay in the domain of poetry and literature, 
a field in which they added a vast number of words and ideas to 
the original Turkish stock. 

The Saracens gave the Ottomans a complete religious and social 
system, united under a Sacred Law which professed to provide 
for all relations of life, and which became more and more rigid 
as time went on. Into this had been wrought slowly by genera- 
tions of learned men most of the Persian governmental ideas 
that have been mentioned, together with others from Arabian 
and Byzantine sources, such as a species of laws of inheritance 
and a system of juristic responses. The Saracens gave also their 
alphabet and a large stock of Arabic words. All that the Mos- 
lems gave the Ottomans was embodied in one great, complex 
institution, which was founded upon an elaborate system of 
education and supported by the revenues from a large part of 
the land of the empire, and which possessed great sohdity and 
an almost changeless permanence. In the Ottoman Empire, 
as in all other Moslem lands, the influence of this completed 
institution was ultimately very injurious; when added to the 
Tatar love of custom, it laid a heavy hand on all movements 
toward improvement and progress. Its ultimate attitude 

1 Ibid. 36. 


toward earthly affairs is well expressed in the following 
couplet: — 

" To build in this world palaces and castles, there is no need; 
They will at last be ruins: to build cities, there is no need." * 

A development which took place among the Turks within the 
Saracen Empire was of the profoundest significance to Ottoman 
history. From some date in the early ninth century, Turkish 
youth were brought to Bagdad in large numbers as purchased, 
but by no means unwilling, slaves. Having been trained as 
soldiers, they became generals and local governors, and after 
no great length of time the central government also passed into 
their hands. The training of such young Turkish slaves in the 
palaces of caliphs and governors clearly foreshadowed Ottoman 
methods. The account that perhaps looks farthest back in rela- 
tion to the Turks is found in the Siasset Nameh, and refers to 
the time of the Samanid dynasty, which ruled in East Persia 
from 874 to 999. It describes the external aspect of the system 
of education, such as promotion and marks of honor, but leaves 
the severe work which lay behind to be inferred : — 

" This is the rule that was followed at the court of the Sama- 

" They advanced slaves gradually, taking account of their 
services, their courage, and their merit. Thus a slave who 
had just been purchased served for one year on foot. Clothed 
in a cotton tunic, he walked beside the stirrup of his chief; they 
did not have him mount on horseback either in public or in 
private, and he would be punished if it were learned that he had 
done so. When his first year of service was ended, the head 
of the chamber informed the chamberlain, and the latter gave the 
slave a Turkish horse which had only a rope in its mouth, a 
bridle and a halter in one. When he had served one year on 
horseback, whip in hand, lie was given a leathern girth to put 
about the horse. The fifth year they gave him a better saddle, 
a bridle ornamented with stars, a tunic of cotton mixed with silk, 
and a mace which he suspended by a ring from his saddle-bow. 

^ Quoted by Cahun, in Lavisse and Rambaud, iii. 964. 


In the sixth year he received a garment of a more splendid color; 
and in the seventh year, they gave him a tent held up by a pole 
and fixed by sixteen pegs: he had three slaves in his suite, and 
he was honored with the title of head of a chamber; he wore 
on his head a hat of black felt embroidered with silver and he was 
clothed with a silk robe. Every year he was advanced in place 
and dignity; his retinue and his escort were increased until the 
time when he reached the rank of chief of squadron and finally 
that of chamberlain. Though his capacity and merit might be 
generally recognized, though he had done some noteworthy deed 
and had acquired universal esteem and the affection of his 
sovereign, he was obliged nevertheless to wait until the age of 
thirty-five years before obtaining the title of e?nir and a govern- 
ment." 1 

In this system of the training of slaves for war and government 
lay the nucleus of the fundamental institution of the Ottoman 
state, which, together with the institution based on the Sacred 
Law, was to sum up practically the entire organized life of the 
Ottoman nation. Under the Samanids it was Turkish boys 
who were thus educated by Arabs and Persians, but the Ottomans 
were later to apply the same principle to the education of Chris- 
tian youth. 

The Seljuk Turks brought most of the ideas that have been 
mentioned into Asia Minor. They served chiefly as mediators 
between the older Turkish, Persian, and Mohammedan systems 
and that of the Ottomans. Besides adding some features out 
of their own experience, such as a method of book-keeping, and 
handing on a taste for constructing public buildings like caravan- 
serais, khans, and mosques, they gave rise to several important 
religious orders which were to have a place in Ottoman life. 

What was left for the Byzantines to contribute to the Otto- 
man ? He had received already the main features of his national 
character, — language, literary influences, law, and religion. 
One of his two leading institutions was already almost fully 
developed in Moslem lands, and required only transplantation. 
The other, however, the institution of war and government, 

1 Sch^fer, Siasset Namch, 139. 


could still be modified considerably; and this was to incorporate 
much from the Byzantines.^ Many details of governmental 
organization, both imperial and local, a supplementary system 
of taxation, a greatly elaborated taste for court ceremonial and 
splendor, a plan of organizing foreign residents under a special 
law, and a host of lesser usages and customs were to be taken over 
by the Ottomans. The Ottoman feudal system also probably 
owed its final form to the Byzantines; and perhaps it was from 
them that the Ottomans learned their abnormal love for fees and 
gifts. The matchless structure of Saint Sophia served as a 
model for the superb mosques that lift the shapely masses of 
their great gray domes, supported by clusters of semidomes and 
lesser domes, above the cypress tress and gardens of the rounded 
hills which in Constantine's city slope down to the blue waters 
of the Sea of Marmora, the Bosphorus, and the Golden Horn. 

This sketch of the origin of the elements of Ottoman culture 
does not profess to be in any sense complete. So great a subject 
is worthy of separate and extended treatment. No more has 
been attempted here than partly to prepare the way for an under- 
standing of the strange system of government which the Ottoman 
Turks developed, and to show that that system was no new crea- 
tion, but was made of elements which in their origins reached 
far back into the past. Out of old and tried ideas was built up a 
double structure which was individual, conservative, and effi- 
cient, strong, durable, and useful. 

' Berard, 4 ff. 





The Ottoman Turkish state of the sixteentli century was a 
despotism, hmited and supported by the Mohammedan Sacred 
Law; it governed a vast territory, which had been gathered by 
the progressive conquest of many separate lands, and which was 
consequently held in many diverse relationships; it ruled a 
multitude of peoples, some of which were favored as holding to 
the state religion, and others of which, though in an inferior 
position, had yet the right by sacred compacts to practise other 
religions and obey other laws. 

This description reveals at once the complex and parti-colored 
character of the Ottoman Empire at the period when its power 
and prestige were greatest, when its armies were feared from 
the shore of the German Ocean to the borders of India and its 
fleets from Gibraltar to Bombay, and when its favor and good- 
will were sought by powers great and small in Asia, Africa, and 
Europe. For the state as for the individual, the penalty of 
greatness is increase of responsibihty and care. In any conquer- 
ing nation the growth of governmental institutions must keep 
pace with increase of territory and population, or advance will 
be stifled by confusion. The growth may, however, be too 
rapid to be intelligently directed. Most great institutions, in 
fact, tend to develop a separate life of their own which may 
become too vast and powerful for human comprehension and 
control; for political, rehgious, economic, and social forces 
proceed out of and act upon them in numerous and unexpected 
ways. In the case of the Ottoman Empire the situation was 
rendered more difficult by the presence in its territory of stable 
and vigorous institutions centuries older than its own. These 
were profoundly hostfle to its inner spirit, far too powerful and 



indi\ddual to be destroyed or absorbed by it, and therefore an 
eternal obstacle to unity. In addition, the Ottoman institu- 
tions themselves grew more and more apart into two unified 
groups, which were in striking contrast in many ways; dwelHng 
together, they acted upon each other continually; and unfortu- 
nately they were so constituted that their reciprocal influence 
was to the injury of both. A fuller explanation will make the 
comphcated situation clearer. 

The Limitations on Despotism 

It may seem a contradiction in terms to speak of a despotism 
as limited; yet a little reflection will show that there never has 
existed and never can exist a despotism that is not limited. 
In what land has the will of one man been obeyed instantly, 
everywhere, and by all ? In what land have there not been stub- 
born traditions, ineradicable prejudices, and powerful organiza- 
tions, which have blocked the way of the despot as effectively 
as lofty mountains and stormy channels ? The great limitation 
upon the power of the Ottoman sultan was the Sheri, or Sacred 
Law of Islam, which claimed to be wholly above him and 
beyond his alteration. ^ He might by act of violence transgress 
its provisions, but he had even then done it no damage; it was 
still what it had always been. And he knew well that his trans- 
gressions must not be too many, and must not at all touch certain 
matters, else he would be declared to have forfeited the throne.^ 
The Sacred Law divided with him the allegiance of his Moham- 
medan subjects; it demanded to be consulted before he removed 
the head of a criminal,^ or went to war with an enemy; •* it took 
for itself the revenues of a large share of his lands, and so 
controlled the imposition of general taxation as seriously to 
embarrass his finances; it even protected his Christian subjects 
from all efforts of his to bring them forcibly under its sway; ^ it 
entered into his very spirit and persuaded him to rehnquish 

1 Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 30; D'Ohsson, v. 7; Heidbom, iii 
" D'Ohsson, i. 291; Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 32. 

2 D'Ohsson, vi. 253. 

* Ibid. V. 53. * Ibid. 109. 


harmless pleasures/ while it supported him in the execution of 
able and worthy brothers and sons,^ The Sheri was a form of 
rigid constitution which by its own provisions was incapable of 
amendment. It purported to regulate for all time the matters 
included in its scope. Open to a small measure of modification 
by juristic interpfetation, it was probably on the whole as 
changeless a system as has ever prevailed among men. The 
sovereign had no right to modify it in the least respect. 

Nor was the Sacred Law the only real limitation upon the 
sultan's power. Although he was not bound to observe the 
legislation of his ancestors or maintain their institutions,^ yet 
he could not lightly destroy what he must at once replace. 
Some of their laws he might cease to observe, some institutions 
he might neglect, improve, or reform; but the main substance 
of their work was too useful and too well-established to be 
undone. Suleiman bears the name of Legislator (El Kanuni); 
but in his case it was even more true than in similar instances 
in other lands that he did not so much ordain and create anew 
as rearrange and put in order, reorganize and regulate. 

Again, few other peoples in the world, perhaps, have been so 
much under the power of custom as was the Ottoman nation.^ 
That which had been once done in a certain way must always 
be done in the same way, or in what was believed to be the same 
way, unless a change had been accompHshed by the distinct 
intervention of fully recognized authority. The inertia of the 

* Ibid. iv. 280; Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 331; Erizzo, 137. 

2 This was based upon a passage of the Koran, " Sedition is worse than exe- 
cution " (Sura 2: 187): Hammer, Geschichte, i. 216. Professor G. F. Moore 
points out that in this passage (and in Sura 2: 214, which is substantially identi- 
cal) the text refers to Mohammed's war with the Mcccans, or to fighting in the 
sacred months. The woTdfitnah, here translated " sedition," has various meanings: 
first of all, " trial," as gold and silver, for example, are tried by smelting; then, 
" successful temptation, leading or turning a man astray, error, discord, dissension, 
sedition, etc." The context indicates clearly that Mohammed had in mind the 
leading or turning of people from the true religion as that which is " worse than 
killing." The other meanings would, however, allow some accommodating jurist 
or theologian to make this a plausible proof-text for authorizing the killing of the 
sultan's brothers, who might become seditious or furnish cause for dissension. 

' Hammer, Staalsverfassung, 31. 

* Ibid. 32; D'Ohsson, vii. 150. 


people was so marked that the sovereign power seldom found it 
worth while, and then only when driven by necessity, to put forth 
the great exertion required to make a change in the estabhshed 

Restricted thus by an unchangeable constitution, by the 
presence of deep-rooted laws and institutions, and by the settled 
customs of a highly conservative people, the power of the Otto- 
man sultan could be exerted freely in certain directions only. 
What these were will appear as the scheme of the government is 

The Territorial Basis 

A fundamental characteristic of the modern state is considered 
to lie in the fact that its power is territorial, that it exerts equal 
authority over every part of a certain territory, and over every 
human being and every material object upon, above,* or under 
the surface of that territory. Although an authority so evenly 
applied may be possible theoretically, it is never in actual exis- 
tence in any particular state; for special laws and arrangements 
always modify the situation. For example, lands and property 
devoted to religious or educational uses, or owned by a foreign 
nation for its ambassador, are regularly exempted from taxation. 
Or, again, the government of the United States of America 
stands in different relations toward the soil of the District of 
Columbia, the state of Massachusetts, the territory of Alaska, 
the Philippine Islands, and the Panama Canal Zone. 

By the laws of Islam the soil of a conquered land is granted by 
God as the absolute possession of the Imam, or divinely com- 
missioned prince, who commands the conquering army.^ Apart 
from the question as to where the sovereignty rests, this theory 
of ownership is substantially that of the modern state. The fact 
that the soil of the Ottoman Empire came into highly complex 
relationships with the government, therefore, arose not so much 
from a different fundamental theory as from a greater number of 
special arrangements based on circumstances and on the per- 
sonality of religion and law. 

* Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 478, and Staatsverfassung, 340. 


The Ottoman Empire consisted, first, of a great body of lands 
which were directly administered according to a system that 
was exceedingly intricate but approximately uniform; second, 
of a number of regions less directly administered under special 
regulations; third, of numerous tributary provinces; and fourth, 
of certain protected or vassal states. Outside the whole, except 
where the frontiers were natural, lay a belt of neutral or disputed 
territory, which tended to be depopulated by continual raids 
from both sides, only less frequent and terrible in time of peace 
than in time of war.^ The great significance of this belt to the 
Ottoman people and government was that it furnished a con- 
tinuous supply of captives for the enorrnpus slave-trade of the 
empire. Outside of the raided belt, again, lay the Dar-ul harh, 
or land of war, inhabited either by peoples whose religions were 
regarded as inferior, or by heretics, wJpom it was a duty to con- 
quer, at least when practical.- The ^der in which these several 
regions are mentioned, an order based on progressive diminution 
of control, corresponds in general to an increasing distance from 
Constantinople. While the Ottoman Empire was growing, 
each sort of territory tended to absorb the next, proceeding from 
the center outward. 

These lands may be considered rapidly in the reverse order. 
The territory in which raiding was frequent consisted of a strip 
extending across Austria-Hungary from the head of the Adriatic 
in a northeasterly direction, and another band stretching east- 
wardly across Southern Poland and Russia in the edge of the 
forest region. The latter was separated from Crimean Tartary 
by the steppe land, which the Tartars kept uninhabited in order 
to afford a free passage to their light horse. The Persian frontier 
also lay waste; but the country was too much broken for easy 
raiding, and Mohammedans, even though heretical, could not 

^ For the Tartar method of raiding in the seventeenth centun,-, see Ricaut, 
book i. ch. xiii. This may be compared with Turkish methods in the fifteenth 
century, as described by the author of the Tractatus, ch. v. 

* D'Ohsson, V. 50. Orthodoxy in the Moslem religion was by no means an 
insuperable obstacle to attempts at conquest. The Mamelukes whom Selim I 
overthrew were Sunnites, and Malekile Morocco was long a land coveted by the 
Ottomans. A desire for the unification of orthodox Islam came into play here. 



lawfully be enslaved.^ Similar conditions existed on the Moroc- 
can frontier, except that the majority of the inhabitants of 
Morocco were orthodox Moslems. Another section that may 
properly be regarded as one of the raided regions from which 
slaves and booty were drawn was the Christian shipping on the 
Mediterranean Sea, and the islands and shores of that sea so far 
as they were held by Christians. Crimean Tartary, Georgia, 
MingreHa, and parts of Arabia were vassal territories, more or 
less lightly attached and paying no regular tribute.^ Venice's 
island of Cyprus, the Emperor Ferdinand's possessions in Hun- 
gary, the territories of Ragusa, Transylvania, Moldavia, and 
Wallachia, all paid regular tribute with occasional presents, for 
the privilege of maintaining their own administrations. Eg^^^t 
was under a special government, adapted with sHght changes from 
that of the Mamelukes, headed by a pasha sent out from Constan- 
tinople for a term of three years, and delivering a large part of 
its annual revenue to the imperial treasury. The Holy Cities of 
Mecca and Medina, far from paying tribute, received a large 
annual subsidy at the cost of Egypt.^ North Africa, conquered 
by the Corsairs, was brought into the empire by Khaireddin 
Barbarossa principally for the sake of prestige and support; 
but, though in its organization it imitated the parent government, 
it was seldom in close obedience. 

The regions directly administered were divided into districts, 
or sanjaks, each of which had a separate law or kanun-nameh, of 
taxation, which rested upon terms made at the time of conquest.* 
Parts of the mountain lands of Albania and Kurdistan, and the 
desert of Arabia, though nominally under direct administration, 
were in very slight obedience ; they retained their ancient tribal 
organizations, under hereditary chieftains who were invested 
with Ottoman titles in return for military service, and whose 
followers might or might not submit to taxation.^ The remaining 

1 D'Ohsson, V. 86. 

2 The Turks laid claim also to Morocco, but they never exercised abiding 
authority there: Knolles (ed. 1687), 987. 

' Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 520-521. 

* These are given in detail in Hammer's Staatsverfassung, 219-327. 

* Ibid. 251 {Kanun-nameh of the sanjak of Kurdistan). 


sanjaks, more closely under control, were yet organized in no 
simple way. 

Parcels of land in the great central portion of the Ottoman 
Empire were in three classes, — the tithe lands (ersi 'ushriyeh), 
the tribute lands (ersi kliardjiyeh), and the state lands (ersi 
memleke.t) } The tithe lands had been granted to Mohammedans 
in fee-simple (mulk) at the time of conquest, on condition of 
paying a relatively small portion (not more than one-tenth) of 
the produce to the state. The tribute lands had been granted 
or left to Christians in fee-simple at the time of conquest, on 
payment of one of two taxes — either a fixed sum for the land 
itself or a share of the produce — the latter ranging in amount 
from one-tenth to one-half.^ The state lands were such as had 
never been granted in fee-simple, and hence their title remained 
in the sultan. He received the revenue, however, from only a 
part of them; for a very large portion had been given to mosques 
as endowment (vakf) for their maintenance and the support of 
their attendants, or for the benefit of the schools, hospitals, and 
other buildings attached to them; and another large portion 
had been granted in fief to Mohammedans, who in return ren- 
dered military service on horseback.* The comparatively 
small remainder of the state lands was held as crown domain, 
administered in a special way by the sultan as owner. The 
tenants of state lands held title only by lease, or tapji, and paid 
both money and crop rent to the church, the fief-holder, or the 
crown.* All the lands in Europe were regarded as state land,* 
for the Ottomans gave out in fee-simple few lands that were 
conquered from Christians. Asia Minor was also largely state 
land; but Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt were held under 
older arrangements, and were mainly tribute lands. Arabia 
and Bosra were almost wholly tithe lands, as being the oldest 
Arabian possessions.^ The fundamental quality of all tribute 

' Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 478, and Staatsverfassung, 343 ff.; Heidbom, 320 ff. 

* Hammer, Slaalsverfassitng, 344. 

* D'Ohsson, vii. 372 ff.; Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 475 ff., and Staatsverfassung, 

337 ff- 

* Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 345. 

» Ibid. 347. ' Ibid. 344. 


land was unchangeable; ^ but original tithe lands which had come 
into the hands of Christians were temporarily regarded as tribute 
lands,^ and lands in fee-simple (tithe and tribute lands) might 
be devoted by their owners as religious endowments iyakj)} 
Original small fiefs might be made into one large one; or a num- 
ber of persons might come to hold a iief without division of it, 
provided they jointly furnished the required military service.* 
Many endowments (vakf) were made by private individuals 
for various public purposes; in time, through the attachment of 
pension provisions and by other devices, a system was built up 
which had many of the features of the employment of uses under 
English law.^ 

No small amount of land of every sort went out of cultivation, 
and after a certain time had elapsed, if the owner was unknown, 
became state land. If this or any other unoccupied land was 
brought again under the plow, it might be granted to the new 

This rapid survey is sufficient to reveal the tangled nature 
of the Ottoman land system in both its farther and its nearer 
aspects, and to show why the administration had to become 
markedly and increasingly bureaucratic. Such a multiplication 
of relations acted powerfully toward decentralization, since the 
regulation of countless details could be attended to better from 
points near at hand; and the immense amount of adjustment to 
which officials and clerks must devote their time afforded infinite 
opportunities for corruption and extortion. Suleiman, in his 
legislation, made a series of efforts to simplify and systematize 
the situation, and with some success; but he could not remove 
the causes of the compHcations, or arrange matters so that they 
would not eventually become worse than before. 

^ D'Ohsson, V. 96. 

2 Ibid. 

^ Belin, La Propriele Fonciere, 88 ff. 

* Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 476; D'Ohsson, vii. 374. 

* D'Ohsson, ii. 523 ff., especially 552-557. 

* Belin, La Propriele Foncihre, 104 flf. 


The Peoples 

The wide Ottoman territory held a great number of peoples, 
marked off by differences of race, language, religion, and customs. 
The raided belt was inhabited chiefly by Southern Slavs, Ger- 
mans, Hungarians, Poles, and Russians; and the Christian 
shores and islands of the Mediterranean chiefly by Greeks, 
Italians, French, and Spaniards. Accordingly, slaves from all 
these peoples were constantly forwarded to the center and dis- 
tributed widely — in the service of the sultan, in the households 
of the great, and on the estates of country gentlemen. They 
were treated without prejudice in accordance with their abilities, 
and in the end the great majority were brought into the Moslem 
fold, many of them rising to the highest positions. The inhabi- 
tants of the tributary states were left in possession of most of 
their own institutions, but whether to their advantage in the 
long run is a question open to debate.' They were plundered 
directly by their own princes and indirectly by the Turks, and 
they had almost no part in the work and hfe of the empire. The 
Mingrelians and Georgians captured and even raised children 
for the slave-trade of the empire proper and of Egypt.^ The 
Egyptian fellahs toiled, as they have done through all ages, 
to produce wealth for their masters, who were now in two bodies 
— the Mamelukes, recruited as always from slaves of many races, 
and the group of officials and Janissaries who aided and sustained 
the Ottoman pasha. The Berbers of North Africa furnished 
a sufficient task of government to their rulers, who consisted of a 
body of officials and Janissaries recruited from captives and from 
the Turks and other inhabitants of southwestern Asia Minor,^ 

* Ricaut, 112. 

* Bernardo, 387 (" like a mine of slaves for the service of the Turks "); Ricaut, 
123; Chardin, 85, 90 (" sometimes they will sell their own children "), 94, 114, 192. 
It is said that the practice of raising Circassian girls for sale is still carried on in 
Asia Minor (Heidbom, 81). 

* Ricaut, 138; Postel, iii. 71; Nicolay, 10 (" The most of those who are called 
Turks in Algiers, whether in the king's household, or on the galleys, are Christians 
of all nations who have denied their faith and turned Mohammedan — sont 
Chresticns reniez et Mahumetizez de toutes nations"); Lavisse and Rambaud, 
iv. 816, 820. 


but connected only at the top with the central government of the 

In the region which was under more or less direct administra- 
tion, Albanians, Servians, Croatians, Bulgarians, and Greeks — 
in general, the Christian subjects in the Balkan Peninsula — 
furnished most of the tribute children; but some were taken from 
the Christians of western and northeastern Asia Minor and the 
Caucasus region. ^ Kurds and Arabs, being Moslems, could 
not be enslaved, but they fought for the empire on the eastern 
frontiers. Armenians and Jews were, by ancient privilege, 
exempt from both blood tribute and military service. ^ 

The principle of the personality of law and religion came most 
visibly into play in the heart of the empire. Prevalent in the 
Orient from the time of Assyria's greatness to the present day, 
it is not easily to be understood in a land that has wholly sepa- 
rated rehgion and law. Where these two ideas are united, two 
men who hold different faiths must perforce Hve under different 
laws.^ Islam inherited the idea of the personaUty of law through 
the Sassanian Persians, and endeavored to apply it with simplic- 
ity by drawing a single line between Moslem citizens {Muslim) 
and non-Moslem subjects {Zimmi).^ The Ottomans adopted 
the idea unreservedly and worked it out into a complicated 
system: each considerable body of their non-Moslem subjects, 
Greek Orthodox, United Greek, Armenian, and Jewish, they 
left, in time, not merely to its own rehgion, but to its own law 
and the administration of its law in all matters that did not 
concern Moslems.^ Proceeding yet farther with the same prin- 

^ Nicolay, 83. Jorga, iii. 167-189, has taken note of the ancestry of many of 
the high Turkish ofl&cials of the sixteenth century; he finds no Roumanian among 

2 In regard to the Armenians, see Schiltberger, 73; Chalcocondyles, 53. As to 
both Armenians and Jews, see Navagero, 42; Postel, 1. 34. Morosini, 294, makes 
mention of an Armenian who was in 1585 the Beylerbey of Greece by special 
favor of the Sultan. 

^ Pelissie du Rausas, i. 21-22. 

* D'Ohsson, V. 104. Visiting foreigners (muste emin) who might remain more 
than one year became tributary subjects {zimmi): Behn, La Propricle Fonciere, 57. 

^ For the times when these different " communities " were formed within the 
Ottoman state, see Steen de Jehay, passim. In brief, the Greek community was 


ciple, they granted even greater privileges to foreigners who 
wished to reside within the empire. Except for a tax upon the 
land which they might occupy, for the necessity of paying cus- 
toms duties, and for responsibility to Ottoman courts of justice 
in civil cases in which Ottoman subjects were concerned, such 
foreigners were almost wholly free from Ottoman control, freer 
far to do as they pleased than they could be in their native lands. 
Regions existed where nearly all the inhabitants obeyed one 
law. In Bulgaria and Greece few were not Greek Orthodox. 
In the interior of Asia Minor few were not, at least legally, 
Mohammedan. But in the great cities of the empire, and 
especially in the capital, there was an immense variety of obedi- 
ence. Not only did the various colonies of foreigners and the 
various subject nationalities have their separate rights under 
different systems, but individuals among them, such as ambas- 
sadors and clergymen, had special privileges and immunities. 
Even among the Mohammedans there were various distinctions. 
Several large classes were privileged, and in different ways, 
including all the people of court and church, of the army and 
the law, of government and education. The social and legal 
structure was thus scarcely less compUcated than that of medieval 
Western Europe, with its interlocking of feudal and official and 
royal privilege, of clergy and nobility, of free and chartered 

Institutions of Government 

In the midst of so much territorial complexity and among 
so many peoples which enjoyed different rights, what unifying 
institutions did the Ottoman Empire possess ? In the largest 
sense, the government included every organization that could 
lay claim to any public character, and all of these must be brought 
into view if there is to be a complete understanding of the condi- 
tions. In the first place, however, it is necessary to discover and 

organized in 1453 and the Armenian in 1461. The latter was at first supposed to 
include all subjects who were not Moslem or Greek Orthodox; those who were not 
Gregorian Armenians were gradually separated off by a process of differentiation 
which may be said to be active still. With the growth of the spirit of nationalism 
in the nineteenth century, the Greek Orthodox community has also been divided. 


comprehend the genuinely great and powerful institutions. 
These were two, and not, as is essential to the modern conception 
of the state, a single one. Each was, it is true, composed of several 
parts, which may be regarded as distinct institutions in them- 
selves; and yet each had an inherent unity that must be firmly 
grasped and held if the situation is to be understood. 

If names must be assigned to these two great composite 
institutions, the nearest approximation would perhaps be to 
call them State and Church. But these words give no adequate 
idea of them, since each embraced a little less and at the same 
time far more than is included in the conception of the corre- 
sponding Western institutions. They will therefore be described 
and discussed as the " Ottoman Ruling Institution," and the 
" Moslem Institution of the Ottoman Empire." The character 
of each and the distinction between them -will become clear as 
they are explained in detail. For the present, a brief statement 
of the composition of each and of its function in the government 
of the empire will sufhce. 

The Ottoman Ruling Institution included the sultan and his 
family, the ofilicers of his household, the executive officers of the 
government, the standing army composed of cavalry and infan- 
try, and a large body of young men who were being educated for 
service in the standing army, the court, and the government. 
These men wielded the sword, the pen, and the scepter. They 
conducted the whole of the government except the mere render- 
ing of justice in matters that were controlled by the Sacred Law, 
and those limited functions that were left in the hands of subject 
and foreign groups of non-Moslems. The most vital and charac- 
teristic features of this institution were, first, that its personnel 
consisted, with few exceptions, of men born of Christian parents 
or of the sons of such; and, second, that almost every member 
of the Institution came into it as the sultan's slave, and remained 
the sultan's slave throughout life no matter to what height of 
wealth, power, and greatness he might attain. 

The Moslem Institution of the Ottoman Empire included the 
educators, priests, jurisconsults, and judges of the empire, and 


all who were in training for such duties, besides certain allied 
groups, such as dervishes or monks, and emirs or descendants 
of the Prophet Mohammed. These men embodied and main- 
tained the whole substance and structure of Mohammedan 
learning, religion, and law in the empire. They took part in the 
government by applying the Sacred Law as judges assisted by 
jurisconsults, and in these capacities they .paralleled the entire 
structure of administration to the remotest corner of the empire.^ 
In fact, their system extended to regions where direct administra- 
tion was not exercised. In the Crimea, for example, the render- 
ing of justice was in their hands, while the other functions of 
government were performed by a vassal state in light obedience. 
The situation in Arabia and in North Africa was somewhat 
similar, though complicated by the presence of rival systems of 
jurisprudence. In direct contrast to the Ruling Institution, 
the personnel of the Moslem Institution consisted, with hardly 
an exception, of men born of Moslem parents, and born and 
brought up free. 

Both these institutions, while uniquely powerful and inde- 
pendent within the empire, were paralleled by lesser institutions, 
but in different ways. The Ruling Institution was followed 
closely by the governments of Eg>'pt and North Africa, and less 
closely by those of the tributary and vassal states; but all these 
were strictly subordinate, and exercised what authority they 
possessed only within definite territorial limits. The Moslem 
Institution was followed closely by the Greek and Armenian 
and Jewish national institutions, and to some extent by the 
organization of the foreign colonies. Each of these various 
institutions rested on a religious organization or theory, cared 
for the learning, rehgion, and law of its people, and rendered 
justice in matters not covered by the Ottoman administration; 
but all were wholly independent of the Moslem Institution, 
and, since they were based on personality instead of territory, 
they exercised jurisdictions which were territorially co-extensive 
with its jurisdiction and often with the jurisdictions of each 

* Hammer, Geschkhte, ii. 237. 


The two great institutions and the lesser parallel ones included 
practically all the government of the empire when regarded in 
its widest aspect. In the time of Suleiman the Ruling Institution 
was perhaps of greater power and influence than the Moslem 
Institution, but the tendency of the latter was to gain upon the 
former. Notable progress in that direction was made during 
his reign, and indeed through his personahty. The policy of 
both toward the parallel lesser institutions was to prevent them 
from gaining in power, and, so far as possible, to weaken them. 
In the former aim this policy succeeded with all but two classes, — 
the governments of North Africa, which were separated by a sea 
under their own control, and the organizations of the foreign 
settlements, which were supported by active and increasing 
powers outside of the empire. But the two great institutions 
were restrained by circumstances and their own inherent struc- 
ture from extirpating the parallel institutions, and in time they 
were to cease to weaken them. The greatest dangers to the 
whole Ottoman system lay, however, in the rivalry of the two 
great institutions and in a tendency of the Ruling Institution 
toward decentralization and division into its component parts. 

Contemporary Descriptions of the Two Great 


Few writers on the history and government of the Ottoman 
Empire since the sixteenth century have grasped the individual 
unity, the paralleHsm, and the contrast of its two leading institu- 
tions. D'Ohsson and Von Hammer understood the Moslem 
Institution, but missed the conception of the Ruling Institution, 
the unity of which had disappeared long before their time. 
Ranke obtained from a few of the Italian writers a very \avid 
conception of the Ruhng Institution, particularly as a slave- 
family and an army; but he did not see the Moslem Institution 
in its due proportion and importance. Zinkeisen, making wider 
use of the Italians, came nearer than any other to a clear under- 
standing of the whole scheme; yet his exposition does not leave 
a distinct impression. Bury, in his lucid chapter in the Cambridge 
Modern History, describes well the Spahis and the Janissaries, 


and notes that many tribute children rose to high positions; 
but he does not grasp tha unity of the RuHng Institution, and 
he seems hardly at all to see the Moslem Institution. Jorga, 
the latest to write a general history of Turkey, makes it his 
avowed purpose to exhibit cultural and institutional growth; 
he comes near, but does not attain, a distinct conception of the 
Ruling Institution; while giving especial attention to the rene- 
gades who reached high position in the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries, he seems not to recognize how definite, and how intelli- 
gently constructed and directed, were the policy and organization 
which raised them to power.^ 

In order to show how clearly some of the Italian writers of 
the sixteenth century understood the two institutions, though 
not under any particular names, translations of certain quota- 
tions are subjoined. Since they will serve also to justify the 
present writer's point of view, no apology need be made for their 

Andrea Gritti, Venetian orator extraordinary to Bayezid II, in 
his report to the Venetian senate on December 2, 1503, mentions 
the highest Turkish officials as follows: — "For affairs of state 
and every other matter of importance His Majesty is wont to 
take counsel with the pashas. . . . These are ordinarily four 
in number, who reside in Constantinople; they are born of 
Christian parents, seized from the provinces while small, and 
educated in different places by men delegated for that purpose; 
raised then to certain positions either through the affection 
which the Grand Signor bears for them, or by some enterprises 
valorously carried through, they quickly become very rich, 
selling, among matters of importance, justice and favors; but 
when they find themselves at the summit of fehcity they live 
in great danger." ^ 

Antonio Barbarigo, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople from 
1555 to 1560, speaks further of the high officials: "Nor does 
there exist in this so great empire either superiority or illustrious- 
ness of blood, so that any one can glory in his descent, but all 

^ See Jorga, iii. 1O7 ff., especially 174, 188. 
2 Gritti, 24-25. 


are in an equal condition, and they themselves wish to be named 
and called slaves of the Grand Signor, and their greatest pride is 
when they say that they are slaves of the Signor; and all his chief 
men and governors are slaves, and Christian renegades, and 
sons of Christians brought up from an early age in the seraglio, 
and then in time, according to their worth, exalted and rewarded 
and made great by His Majesty." ^ 

Marcantonio Barbaro, Bailo of Venice at Constantinople from 
1568 to 1573, seems to have been the first to discern clearly the 
contrast of the two institutions. 

" It is a fact truly worthy of much consideration, that the 
riches, the forces, the government, and in short the whole state 
of the Ottoman Empire is founded upon and placed in the hands 
of persons all born in the faith of Christ; who by difTerent 
methods are made slaves and transferred into the Mohammedan 
sect. Then whoever will carefully direct his attention to this 
principal consideration, will come more easily to an understand- 
ing of the government and nature of the Turks. . . . 

" Other sorts of persons are not ordinarily admitted to the 
honors and the pay of the Grand Signor, except the above- 
mentioned, all Christian-born. . . . 

" The emperor of the Turks has ordinarily no other ordinances 
and no other laws which regulate justice, the state, and religion, 
than the Koran; so that, as the arms and the forces are wholly 
reposed in the hands of persons all born Christians, so, as I have 
already said, the administration of the laws is all solely in the 
hands of those who are born Turks, who bring up their sons in the 
service of the mosques, where they learn the Koran, until being 
come of age they are made kazis of the land, who are like our 
podestas, and administer justice, although the execution remains 
in the hands of those who wield arms. . . . 

" I have taken much space to demonstrate to your most excel- 
lent Signory how the government of this empire is wholly reposed 
in the hands of slaves born Christians, this appearing to me a 
matter for much consideration. . . ." ^ 

^ A. Barbarigo, 149-150 (from a summary of his Relazione). 
2 Barbaro, 315-329, /»a«i»w. 


Gianfrancesco Morosini, Venetian Bailo at Constantinople 
from 1582 to 1585, later made a cardinal of the Roman church, 
yields to none in the fulness and depth of his observation of the 
Turks. He too distinguishes clearly the great institutions: — 

" There are two sorts of Turks: one of these is composed of 
natives born of Turkish fathers, and the other of renegades, 
who are sons of Christian fathers, taken violently in the depreda- 
tions which his fleets and sailors are accustomed to make on 
Christian territories, or levied in his own territory by force of 
hand from the subjects and non-Moslem tax-payers (carzeri) of 
the Signor, who while boys are by allurement or by force cir- 
cumcised and made Turks. . . . Not only does the greater part 
of the soldiery of the Turks consist of these renegades, but in 
yet greater proportion all the principal offices of the Porte are 
wont to be given to them, from the grand vizier to the lowest 
chief of this soldiery, it being established by ancient custom that 
the sons of Turks cannot have these positions. . . . 

" To the native Turks are reserved then the governing of 
the mosques, the judging of civil and criminal cases, and the 
ofiice of the chancery: from these are taken the kazis and the 
kaziaskers, the teachers Qtojas) , and their Mufti, who is the head 
of their false religion ; and the kazis are like podestas, and render 
justice to every one, and the kaziaskers are like judges of appeal 
from these ^as/5. ..." 

" The renegades are all slaves and take great pride in being 
able to say, * I am a slave of the Grand Signor ' ; since they 
know that this is a lordship or a republic of slaves, where it is 
theirs to command." ^ 

Lorenzo Bernardo was Bailo of Venice in Constantinople 
from 1584 to 1587. After a second period of service in 1591 
and 1592 he presented the longest extant report to the Venetian 
senate on the Ottoman Empire. After describing the principal 
officers of the Ottoman government at the time he says in his 
involved style : — 

" These are they, in whom is reposed not only the whole 
government of the state, but also the command of all the arms 

^ Morosini, 263-267, passim. 


of this so great an empire; and yet these are neither dukes, nor 
marquises, nor counts, but all by origin are shepherds, and per- 
sons base and vile; wherefore it would be well if this most serene 
republic, imitating in this direction the Grand Signor, he who 
from this sort of persons, his slaves, creates and makes the best 
captains, sanjaks and beylerbeys, giving them in this way credit 
and reputation 

" Just as the whole government of the affairs of the state 
and the command of its arms is reposed in the hands or the 
control of slaves by origin Christian, and then made Turks by 
various accidents; so the government of the affairs which look 
toward justice, and all the charge of affairs of religion are located 
in the hands of native Turks, sons of Turks, who ha\dng been 
educated in the universities instituted by the Grand Signor 
and the present ministers, and made learned in their laws, which 
consist, both civil and criminal, in no other teaching than that 
of the sole book, the Koran, become imams, or priests, who govern 
mosques; kazis, or podestas; hojas, or preceptors of great men; 
and finally kaziaskers, or judges of supreme appeal, of whom 
there are only two, the one in Asia and the other in Europe; 
and the head of all these and supreme in their reHgion is the 
mufti, Hke the pope among us, who is chosen by the Grand 
Signor." ^ 

Lastly, Matteo Zane shall speak, Venetian Bailo in Constanti- 
nople from 1 591 to 1597. In the imperfect record of his vigorous 
report, the illustrious diplomatist says: " The Turks are partly 
natives and partly renegades; the natives, who live for the most 
part in Asia, are in comparison with the renegades less depraved 
and less tyrannous, because they still have in them some rehgion, 
which the others have not, — the most arrogant and scoundrelly 
men that can be imagined, having seemingly with the true faith 
lost all humanity. This ahenation from rehgion is fitting in 
desperate characters, who are induced to it by Ucentious freedom 
of hfe, and by seeing placed in their hands the arms, the govern- 
ment, the riches, and in short the whole empire, excluding the 
native Turks, who are admitted only to the careers of justice, 

^ Bernardo, 358-364, passim. 


as that of kazi and the like, and to those of religion, such as 
mujli, hoja, and imam, as is very well known." '■ 

The impending break-down of the system near the close of 
the sixteenth century is also set forth clearly by Zane: " The 
government of the Turkish Empire is suffering within itself so 
many and such great alterations, that one may very reasonably 
hope, divine aid mediating, for some notable revolution within a 
short time, because the native Turks continue to sustain the 
greatest dissatisfaction, from seeing all the confidence of the 
government reposed in the renegades, who, at a tender age for 
the most part, are taken into the seraglio of the king or of private 
citizens, and made Turks. To the renegades is committed not 
merely the care of arms, but the entire command and the execu- 
tion of the acts of justice of the kazis (although they do not allow 
appeals), and the superintendence of religion; whence one may 
say that they rule everything and that the native Turks are their 
subjects as are servants to their masters; which was not true in 
other times to such excess as at present." ^ 

To these testimonies from Italian writers may be added a 
paragraph written about 1603 by the great English historian of 
Turkey, Richard Knolles. Knolles shows no acquaintance with 
the Moslem Institution, but his recognition of the Ruling Institu- 
tion is good : — 

" The Othoman Government in this his so great an Empire, 
is altogether like the Government of the Master over his Slave, 
and indeed mcer tyrannical; for the Great Sultan is so absolute 
a Lord of all things within the compass of his Empire, that all 
his Subjects and People, be they never so great, do call them- 
selves his Slaves and not his Subjects; neither hath any man 
power over himself, much less is he Lord of the House wherein 
he dwelleth, or of the Land which he tillcth, except some few 
Families in Constantinople, to whom some few such things were 
by way of reward, and upon especial favour given by Mahomet 
the Second, at such time as he won the same. Neither is any 
man in that Empire so great, or yet so far in favour with the 
Great Sultan, as that he can assure himself of his Life, much less 

* Zane, 389. ^ Ibid. 414. 


of his present Fortune or State, longer than it pleaseth the 
Sultan. In which so absolute a Sovereignty (by any free born 
People not to be endured) the Tyrant preserveth himself by 
two most especial means; first, by taking off all Arms from his 
natural Subjects; and then by putting the same and all things 
else concerning the State and Government thereof into the 
Hands of the Apostata, or Renegade Christians, whom for the 
most part every third, fourth, or fifth Year (or of tner, if his need 
so require) he taketh in their Child-hood, from their miserable 
Parents, as his Tenths or Tribute Children; whereby he gaineth 
two great Commodities: First, For that in so doing he spoileth 
the Provinces he most feareth, of the flower, sinews, and strength 
of the People, choice being still made of the strongest Youths, 
and fittest for War; then, for that with these, as with his own 
Creatures, he armeth himself, and by them assureth his State; 
for they, in their Child-hood, taken from their Parents Laps, 
and dehvered in Charge to one or other appointed for that 
purpose, quickly, and before they are aware, become Mahome- 
tans; and so no more acknowledging Father or Mother, depend 
wholly on the Great Sultan; who, to make use of them, both 
feeds them and fosters them, at whose hands onely they look 
for all things, and whom alone they thank for all. Of which 
Fry, so taken from their Christian Parents (the only Seminary 
of his Wars) some become Horse-men, some Foot-men, and so in 
time the greatest Commanders of his State and Empire, next 
unto himself; the natural Turks, in the mean time, giving them- 
selves wholly unto the Trade of Merchandise, and other their 
Mechanical Occupations; or else to the feeding of Cattel, their 
most ancient and natural Vocation, not intermedling at all with 
matters of Government or State." ^ 

^ Knolles (ed. 1687), 982. 



I. General Description 

Perhaps no more daring experiment has been tried on a large 
scale upon the face of the earth than that embodied in the 
Ottoman Ruling Institution. Its nearest ideal analogue is 
found in the Republic of Plato, its nearest actual parallel in the 
Mameluke system of Egypt; but it was not restrained within 
the aristocratic Hellenic limitations of the first, and it subdued 
and outlived the second. In the United States of America 
men have risen from the rude work of the backwoods to the 
presidential chair, but they have done so by their own effort 
and not through the gradations of a system carefully organized 
to push them forward. The Roman Catholic church can still 
train a peasant to become a pope, but it has never begun by 
choosing its candidates almost exclusively from famihes which 
profess a hostile rehgion. The Ottoman system dehberately 
took slaves and made them ministers of state; it took boys from 
the sheep-run and the plow-tail and made them courtiers and 
the husbands of princesses; it took young men whose ancestors 
had borne the Christian name for centuries, and made them 
rulers in the greatest of Mohammedan states, and soldiers and 
generals in invincible armies whose chief joy was to beat down 
the Cross and elevate the Crescent. It never asked its novices, 
" Who was your father ? " or " What do you know ? " or even 
"Can you speak our tongue?"; but it studied their faces 
and their frames and said, " You shall be a soldier, and if you 
show yourself worthy, a general," or, " You shall be a scholar 
and a gentleman, and if the ability lies in you, a governor and a 
prime minister." Grandly disregarding that fabric of funda- 
mental customs which is called " human nature," and those 



religious and social prejudices which are thought to be almost 
as deep as life itself, the Ottoman system took children forever 
from parents, discouraged family cares among its members 
through their most active years, allowed them no certain hold 
on property, gave them no definite promise that their sons and 
daughters would profit by their success and sacrifice, raised and 
lowered them with no regard for ancestry or previous distinction, 
taught them a strange law, ethics, and religion, and ever kept 
them conscious of a sword raised above their heads which might 
put an end at any moment to a brilhant career along a matchless 
path of human glory. 

The members of this system were, in a general way, as long 
as they lived, at once slaves, proselytes, students, soidiers, nobles, 
courtiers, and officers of government. To be understood fully, 
the institution should be considered from each of these points of 
view. The aspects which were of central and controlling im- 
portance, however, were those of war and government; the 
others were preparatory or accessory. Furthermore, the sultan 
was the head and center of the institution in every one of its 
aspects. He gave it its unity, its vigor, and its propelling force. 
Although his despotic power was limited in many directions, it 
knew no limits with regard to the members and the mechanism 
of this institution. The person, the fortune, the property, and 
the life of every member lay in his hand.^ 

The absolute character of the sultan's authority was an element 
of great strength to the institution, but it contained also the 
possibihty of a great danger. To manage the system well 
required an almost superhuman intelligence. The sultan held 
the position of Deity toward his slaves, and he needed the 
omniscience and benevolence of Deity to exercise his power 
wisely and justly. Unfortunately, his position, which controlled 
the whole scheme, was the only one that was filled by the uncer- 
tain lot of heredity. While strong men came to the throne, the 
system worked out marvellous results. When weak men were 
to come, as happened immediately after Suleiman, the system 
was to begin to fall apart into dangerous fragments. Yet its 

1 Ricaut, 14-15. 


vitality was so strong that it lived on through nearly three 
centuries of alternate decline and rehabilitation, and its spirit 
may almost be said to abide still. 

The Ruling Institution contained certain component parts, 
which were capable of separate existence, and some of which at 
times tended to escape complete control. Among these the best- 
known, though not intrinsically the most important, was the 
body of permanent infantry known as the Janissaries. They 
represented the brute force of the system and its most dangerous 
element. Another component institution was the permanent 
cavalry, the Spahis of the Porte. ^ These were more numerous 
than the Janissaries, but being better educated and encouraged 
by the presence of greater opportunities, they were not so dan- 
gerous. A third important sub-institution was the hierarchy of 
governing officials. Although these had great power, they could 
be dealt with individually; and the sword was never far from 
their necks. Subordinate bodies of a secondary influence were 
the Ajem-oghlans, or apprentice Janissaries, and the colleges of 
pages, which trained many of the Spahis of the Porte and most 
of the officers of government. Each of these component parts 
will be dealt with in its proper place. Theoretically, and except 
at certain junctures practically, they were strictly subordinated 
to the main institution and yet fully incorporated with it. The 
Ruling Institution as a whole will be considered as a slave-family, 
a missionary institution, an educational system, an army, a 
court, a nobility, and a government. 

II. The Slave-Family 

Every one who belonged to the Ruling Institution in any 
capacity from gardener to grand vizier, save only the members of 
the royal family, bore the title of kul, or slave, of the sultan.- 

^ These Spahis of the Porte are to be distinguished from the body of feudal 
Spahis. See below, pp. 98-105. 

^ This is illustrated by the quotations in the last section of Chapter i, above. 
See also Menavino, 138 (referring to the pages, he says " Tutti sono suoi schiaui 
& figlioli Christiani "); Ricaut, 14 (all who receive pay or oflice from the sultan 
are called kul); D'Ohsson, vii. 203 (" Les employes civils de mdme que les mili- 


Nor was this title a mere form : with few exceptions, all members 
entered the system as actual slaves, and there was nowhere 
along the line of promotion any formal or real process of emanci- 
pation. The power of the sultan over the lives, persons, and 
property of the members of the institution, and his right to their 
absolute obedience, bear every mark of having been derived 
from the idea of slavery. The very word despot means by 
derivation the master of slaves, and it was only over his kullar 
that the sultan's power was despotic in the fullest sense.^ 

Entrance to the system came by the door of slavery, which 
was open regularly only to Christian boys from ten to twenty 
years of age. It is an error, found in some writers even lately, 
to name eight years as the usual age.^ The correct limits are 
given approximately by many contemporary writers.^ It is 
probable that the preferred ages were between fourteen and 
eighteen, and that only in exceptional cases were boys taken 
before the age of twelve or after the age of twenty. 

taires, suiv-ant I'antique usage de I'Orient, sont assimiles aux esclaves du Souverain, 
et qualifies de ce nom — coul — dans toutes les pieces publiques "). In D'Ohsson's 
time the term had acquired such a general usage as in the English phrase " your 
obedient ser\'ant." Delia Valle, i. 44, speaking of the entry to the Divan, says, 
" Tutti sono schiavi; " and Ranke, 9, says, " All were slaves." 

^ D'Ohsson, vii. 149, 207. 

* For example, Lodge, The Close of the Middle Ages (1906), 500; Myers, Medieval 
and Modern History (1905), 165. 

^ The Tractatus, ch. viii, says simply 20 years and imder; Zeno, 128, says above 
10 years. Ramberti and Junis Bey (below, pp. 244, 263) mention pages from 
8 to 20 years old; Navagero, 49, says between 12 and 15 years, Trevisano, 229, 
says that they were taken not at the age of 6 or 7 years as formerly, but at 10 or 
12 years. Postel, iii. 23, sets between 12 and 14 as the lower limit, and 18 and 
20 as the upper limit. Nicolay, 62, says that the pages were from 8 to 20 years 
of age; Garzoni, 396, says that they ranged from the tenth to the thirteenth 
year; Ricaut, 74, fixes the age at 10 or 12 years. Too much reliance should not be 
placed on Trevisano's statement as to former times, since hearsay evidence as to 
Turkish affairs is unreliable. Considering the rougher life in earlier times, it is 
likely that levies would then have been made of older, rather than younger, boys. 
The presence of young boys among the pages was due to the selection of unusually 
promising captives. 


Methods of Recruiting 

Four methods were employed for obtaining recruits for the 
system, — by capture, purchase, gift, and tribute. Of these only 
the last is commonly considered; ' but it was originally, and 
probably always, merely supplementary to the others.- The 
four methods ultimately rested on two. Slaves who were 
bought for the sultan or given to him had nearly all been either 
taken as captives or levied illegally with the tribute boys; there 
was hardly any other way, since slaves passed too rapidly into 
the Moslem fold to have their children available for the system. 
As to the comparative numbers obtained by the different methods 
there are few data for calculation. Probably about three thou- 
sand tribute boys was the annual average in the sixteenth cen- 
tury,^ but there is no reason to think that this was a majority 
in the number of annual recruits. The whole number in the 
system may be estimated at about eighty thousand.^ Since 
the losses by war were sometimes tremendous, it is probable 
that the average annual renewal required was as much as one- 
tenth, or between seven and eight thousand. On this basis the 
tribute boys furnished somewhat less than one-half of the whole 
number. These calculations are, of course, more or less arbitrary. 

It is true that children of Spahis of the Porte might be admitted 
to the college of pages at the pleasure of the sultan, but their 

^ Myers (as above) mentions the two methods of capture and tribute as suc- 

'^ Djevad Bey, i. 26: " Ces prisonniers ou esclaves 6taient d'ailleurs incorpores 
dans I'armee des Janissaires, et alors I'efTectif qui manquait 6tait complete par la 
voie de la levee de troupes parmi Ics sujets chretiens." 

' Ramberti and Junis Bey (below, pp. 254, 270) say that 10,000, or 12,000 
were taken every 4 years. Geuffroy, 242, and Postel, iii. 23, give the same esti- 
mate. Ricaut, 74, says he is " given to understand " that about 2000 were 
collected yearly in the middle of the seventeenth century. The exigencies of war 
probably increased the number greatly at times. B6rard, 12, naming no author- 
ity, says that in some years Suleiman took 40,000 boys. 

* 20,000 Ajem-oghlans, 12,000 to 14,000 Janissaries, 10,000 of the auxiliar\- 
corps, grooms, etc., 40,000 Spahis of the Porte (including the 12,000 members of 
the four corps and the followers they were obliged to bring), 2000 pages and high 
ofiicials. Suleiman took with him on his last campaign 48,316 men under pay 
(Hammer, Staalsvcrd'olluug, 181). Morosini, 259, says that in 15S5 the sultan 
had under pay 80,000 men. This is exclusive of about one-half of the Ajem-oghUns. 


grandchildren and the children of all other Moslems were ex- 
cluded by rigid rules. ^ These rules began to be invaded about 
the close of Suleiman's reign by the admission of the sons of 
Janissaries,- an innovation that was of ultimately fatal import to 
the system, A certain number of adults were also received and 
some of these were sons of Moslems; exceptional individuals 
from among the irregular troops were admitted to the Spahis 
of the Porte by way of reward,^ and that body contained a For- 
eign Legion of about two thousand, composed of renegade 
Christians, Arabs, Nubians, and the like.^ Occasionally, also, 
some high official of Suleiman's government had been born a 
Moslem.^ But the total effect of all these exceptions was so 
shght as to cause them to be disregarded by more than one 
contemporary observer.^ 

The original homes of the captives have been described.^ 
By the Sacred Law the sultan was entitled to one-fifth of all 
captives taken in war; * and he chose as his share, through 
agents, such young men as seemed suitable for a place in his 
system.^ Since by special Ottoman regulation the sultan's 
fifth belonged to the church, he was accustomed to pay twenty- 
five aspers to the church for each slave that he took.^'^ His 
officers also purchased in the pubhc slave-market of the capital 
such youths as were available." These came from the captives 
that the Tartars of the Crimea took in great numbers, from the 
quasi-slave-farms of the Caucasus,^' from the irregular raids in 

1 Postel, i. 20. 

2 See below, p. 69, note 3. 
' Postel, iii. 36. 

^ See below, p. 99, note i. 

^ For example, Piri Mohammed, a descendant of the thirteenth-century poet, 
Jelal ad-din Rumi. Cf. Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 18. 

^ Notably Junis Bey, who says (below, p. 265), " None can be a pasha except 
a Christian renegade." This custom is said to have been established by Bayezid 
II (.-Vngiolello, 74, quoted by Jorga, ii. 306, note 2). For further instances, see 
the last section of Chapter i, above. 

^ See above, p. :i2)- 

8 D'Ohsson, V. 91. 

9 Schiltberger, 5, gives an early example. See also Tractatiis, ch. viii. 
1" Hammer, Geschichte, i. 167. " Zeno, 127. 

12 Zeno is strongly impressed by these two sources. 


Austria, and from the corsair expeditions. The sultan received 
a large number of boys as gifts, since it was well known that no 
presents were more acceptable.^ Those who desired his favor 
kept a lookout for such as would please him. 

The Tribute Boys 

Although the levying of tribute boys in the Christian provinces 
of the empire seems not to have produced the majority of neo- 
phytes for the system, the practice has always received a share 
of attention far beyond its numerical importance. Several 
reasons for this suggest themselves. In the first place, it rested 
on a unique and almost unparalleled idea; then, it involved an 
extraordinary disregard of human affection and of the generally 
acknowledged right of parents to bring up their children in 
their own law and religion; ^ and, finally, it produced the ablest 
and highest officials of the system.^ In the latter respect its 
youth seem to have borne some such relation to those obtained 
by capture as the cultivated fruits of the garden do to those 
gathered in the woods. 

The levying was accomplished by a regular process, the devsh- 
iirmch. Normally every four years, but oftener in case of need,^ 
a body of officials more skilled in judging boys than trained 
horse-dealers are in judging colts were sent out by the govern- 
ment to the regions from which tribute was taken.* The whole 
of the Balkan Peninsula, Hungary, the western coast of Asia 

' Postel, iii. 17-18. It was in this way that Menavino entered the system (see 
his Trattato, 10). 
2 Cf. Postel, iii. 23. 

* A study of the nationality of the high officials of the sixteenth centuty gives 
evidence of this. For example, Ibrahim was an Albanian (Junis Bey, below, 
p. 265) ; Rustem Pasha was a Croat (Hammer, Geschichle, iii. 268) ; Ferhad was 
a Hungarian {ibid. 365); the grand vizier AJi, whom Busbecq {Life and Letters, 
i. 157) calls " a thorough gentleman," was a Dalmatian; Ayas was an .\lbanian, 
and Kassim a Croat (Junis Bey, p. 265) ; etc. For many other examples, see Jorga, 
iii. 167-189. 

* The Tractatus, ch. viii, says every 5 years; Spandugino, 102, says once in 5 
years or oftener; Zeno, 128, says each year; Rambcrti and Junis Bey (below, 
pp. 254, 270) say every 4 years; PosteL iii. 22, says every 3 or 4 years. 

* Tractatus, ch. vi. 


Minor, and the southern and eastern shores of the Black Sea 
were inckided in the territory visited; but the strongest and 
ablest youths came from the mountain regions inhabited by 
Albanians and the Southern Slavic peoples.^ The recruiting 
officers were commissioned each to bring in a certain number, 
which had been apportioned to them out of a total determined 
at the capital. 2 There was no principle of tithing, and no fixed 
proportion or number of boys was levied from each village or 
family; ^ the quota desired from each district was obtained for 
the government by selection of the most available youths. The 
recruiting officers sometimes collected a larger number than was 
asked for, and sold the surplus on their own account to high 
officials or wealthy private citizens.^ A regular procedure was 
followed. The officers obtained from the Christian priest of 
the village a list of the boys whom he had baptized, and who were 
between the ages of twelve and twenty years or thereabouts.^ 
All these were brought before the officers, who selected the best.® 
Parents who had strong and well-favored sons might lose them 
all, while those who had weakhngs would lose none.' On leaving 
each village, the officer took with him the boys whom he had 

^ Giovio, Commentarius, 75; Zeno, 128; Nicolay, 83. Jorga, iii. 188, finds no 
Roumanian among the high Turkish officials of the sixteenth century. Roumania, 
being a vassal state, was not exposed to the devshurmek. Knolles (ed. 1687, pp. 
984-985) says that the tribute boys from Asia were not advanced to become Jan- 
issaries, because they were not of sufficiently high quality. They are not found 
in positions of prominence. 

2 Navagero, 48. 

' Menavino's translator says quasi decimatione (Lonicerus, i. 140). Postel, iii. 
22-23, says expressly that the children were not tithed; Nicolay, 83, however, states 
that one in three were taken, as does J. Soranzo, 245. Morosini, 264, speaks of 
a tithe {decima). Gibbon (ed. Bury), vii. 79, says that a fifth of the boys were 
taken; see also Lavisse and Rambaud, iv. 758. The latter statements seem to 
be based theoretically on the fifth of the captives to which the sultan was entitled. 
The differences among those who profess to fix a proportion are evidence that 
there was none. 

^ Spandugino, 103. 

* Postel, iii. 22. Navagero, 49, says that the officers summoned the heads of 
families and commanded them to present their sons. 

^ Navagero, 49. 

' Postel, iii. 23. 


selected; and, when his quota had been gathered, he took them 
to the capital.^ 

Estimate of the System 

This levying of boys as tribute has always ehcited a great 
amount of moral indignation, as representing an extreme of 
oppression, heartlessness, and cruelty. The rehgious factor 
has increased the odium of the custom. Certainly no argument 
can be found which will justify it to those who believe in the 
liberty of the individual, the absolute right of parents over 
minor children, and a complete withdrawal of human beings 
from the category of property, — principles which seem in the 
sixteenth century to have had no place in Ottoman philosophy 
or jurisprudence, at least as regards Christian subjects. It may 
be said at once that the custom cannot be brought into harmony 
with Western ideas. So much being granted, how did the 
system bear upon the parents who were despoiled and the boys 
who were taken ? 

In the midst of the conflicting testimony of reputable witnesses, 
it is evident that the parents of tribute boys did not all feel 
alike. The grief at parting was often a heart-breaking thing to 
witness; ^ the mother whose son was taken by force to an unknown 
life among enemies of all that she had been taught to hold dear 
would hardly have suffered more at the death of her son. At 
the same time, she might hope to see him one day in the posses- 
sion of great wealth and power. It is not to be supposed that 
youth taken at from twelve to twenty years of age would ever 
forget their parents; and, if they lived and prospered, they would 
sometimes seek them out, as did Ibrahim, even though they 
might not try his unfortunate experiment of bringing them up 
to the capital.^ Fathers would appreciate the opportunities 

* Navagero, 49. ^ Postel, iii. 23. 

' Geuffroy, 240. Bragadin (1526), 103, says: " Ibrahim has his mother and two 
brothers in the palace. He does much good to Christians. His father is Sanjak 
in Parga." And again, 104: " Ayas has three brothers. His mother at Avlona is 
a Christian, and he sends her 100 ducats annually." Nicolay, 86, says, on the 
contrar)', that the tribute boys are never afterwards willing to recognize father, 
mother, or relatives. He cites the case of an uncle and nephews of Rustem Pasha, 
who begged in Adrianople, but received no aid from him. Cf. Zane, 438. 


which arose before their sons much more than would the mothers. 
Both would be more or less reluctant to let them go, according 
as their Christian religious convictions were deep or shallow. 
Parents who wished to keep their sons would sometimes marry 
them in tender years, since married boys were ineligible; those 
who had means bought exemption for their sons from the recruit- 
ing officers, who thus reaped great rewards.^ On the contrary, 
many parents were glad to have their sons chosen, knowing that 
they would thus escape from grinding poverty,^ receive a first- 
rate training suited to their abilities, and enter upon the possi- 
bility of a great career. Some parents, in fact, came to regard 
the process as a privilege rather than a burden ; ^ and they had 
reason to do so, since Turkish parents envied them the opportu- 
nity, and sometimes tried to evade the regulations by paying 
Christians to take their Moslem sons, and declare them as 
Christian children, so that they might be enrolled as the sultan's 
slaves.* Apart, then, from poHtical theory and religious pre- 
possession, the levying of tribute children was by no means a 
mere evil to the parents. 

The situation of the boys themselves, considered under the 
same reservations, was almost wholly favorable. They were 
taken at an age when they would not feel the parting as they 
might have felt it in earlier or later years, when their attachment 
to things and places would be at its weakest, and before their 
religious convictions were likely to have become fixed. They 
were taken from the narrow mountain valleys and the labor- 
hungry plains. They were taken at the age when the bounding 
pulse and the increasing strength of youth suggests great hope 
and promises great achievement. They were taken to opportu- 
nities as great as their utmost abilities, greater often than they 
could possibly imagine. They might still have to labor for a 
time, but a distinct career lay ahead. The best military educa- 

^ Spandugino, 144, 145. 

* Trevisano, 130. 
3 Ibid. 

* Bernardo, 332, says in 1592, after the system had been dislocated, that the 
greater part of the recruits were then sons of Turks. 


tion in the world would certainly be theirs. If their abihties 
lay in that direction they could have a finished and thorough, 
though specialized, education of the mind. They could look 
forward to travel, wealth, power, and all else that human ambi- 
tion desires. In that land and that age of the world, the question 
of the religious and social systems being laid aside, an unpreju- 
diced observer could hardly imagine a more brilliant opportu- 
nity than that which lay before the tribute boys. 

The Slave Status 

Whether captured, purchased, presented, or levied, the young 
men who entered the system were the slaves of the sultan, the 
personal property of a despot. They were his slaves for life, 
and, though they felt honored by the title, ^ they were never 
allowed to forget the responsibilities of their condition. They 
must to the end of their days go where the sultan chose to send 
them, obey his sHghtest wish, submit to disgrace as readily as 
to promotion,^ and, though in the highest office of state, they 
must accept death by his order from the hands of their humblest 
fellow-slaves,^ If one of them was executed, all his property 
went to his master. The time had not yet come when heads 
would be removed for the sake of the owner's possessions; yet 
Suleiman profited greatly by the death of several of his slaves, 
in particular from the estates of the Dcfterdar Iskender Chelebi 
and the grand vizier Ibrahim.^ When one of the sultan's slaves 
died leaving sons or daughters, the master sealed up his property, 
and took the tenth part for himself before distributing the rest 
to the children;^ the nine-tenths was, indeed, given to the 
children rather by the favor of a bountiful and wealthy master 
than as a right. If the slave had no sons or daughters, the 
sultan took his whole estate ; * and a day was to come when his 

1 Erizzo, 131; Morosini, 267; Ricaut, 14. 

''■ Spandugino, 180. 

* Ibid. 183; J. Soranzo, 250. 

* Hammer, Gcschichle, iii. 144, 156, 162. 
^ Postel, iii. 68. 

' Ibid. G. Soranzo (1576), 197, says that the Grand Signer is heir of all the 


empty treasury would demand the whole estate under all cir- 
cumstances.^ Thus in all essential respects the eighty thousand 
kidlar of the sultan constituted one great slave-family. 

The Harem, the Eunuchs, and the Royal Family 

Two or three less numerous but highly important groups may 
properly be discussed in the present connection. The imperial 
harem and the imperial family itself were virtually parts of the 
same slave system.^ The harem of Suleiman was not the large 
and costly institution that was maintained by some of his succes- 
sors; like his father Selim,^ he was not given to sensuality, but 
is said to have been faithful to Khurrem from the time that 
he made her his wife.^ The character of an Oriental royal 
harem has often been set forth incorrectly. While it may 
contain hundreds or even thousands of women, a very few of 
these are the actual consorts of the monarch. A large number are 
the personal servants and entertainers of himself, his mother, his 
consorts, his daughters, and his infant sons. Another section 
consists of those who are being educated for the same personal 
service. A fourth group, probably the great majority, are mere 
house-servants, who attend to all the domestic labors of the 
harem and are seldom promoted to more honorable positions. 
There is, finally, a group of older women who preserve order 
and peace, teach, keep accounts, and manage the estabUshment 

Suleiman's harem contained about three hundred women, 
who were kept in a separate palace well fortified and guarded.^ 
His harem fully deserves to be reckoned as part of the great 
slave-family, since all its inmates except his children were pur- 

^ D'Ohsson, vii. 147. In the seventeenth century the sultan allowed the 
children of pashas only what pleased him (Ricaut, 131). Morosini, 274, refers to 
a similar practice in the latter part of the sixteenth century. 

2 Ricaut, 16, calls the Turkish court " a prison of slaves." 

3 Hammer, Geschichle, ii. 379. 

* Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 159. 
6 D'Ohsson, vii. 61 ff. 

8 Spandugino, 77; Ramberti, below, p. 253; Junis Bey below, p. 268; Nicolay, 


chased or presented slaves.* These women, brought for the 
most part from the region of the Caucasus,^ and including in 
their number some of the fairest female captives of many lands, 
were nearly all daughters of Christians. Khurrem herself was 
a Russian, while the rival of her youth seems to have been a 
Circassian.^ In another respect the harem deserves to be 
reckoned with the Ruling Institution, in that its inmates, upon 
attaining the age of twenty-five, were, if they had not attracted 
the sultan's special attention, as a rule given in marriage to 
distinguished Spahis of the Porte."* 

A comparatively small group, not hitherto mentioned, of the 
attendants at the sultan's palace and harem belong within the 
slave-family. Although the Sacred Law strongly disapproved 
of the employment of eunuchs, that unfortunate class was thought 
too useful to be dispensed with entirely. Some were white, 
brought mainly from the Caucasus region ; but the great majority 
were negroes brought from Africa. Tribute children seem 
rarely to have been made eunuchs.^ The class deserves mention 
because several of the important offices of state among the 
" men of the pen " were held by eunuchs, and now and then one 
rose to high place in the army or the administration.^ 

The royal family also may rightly be included in the slave- 
family. The mothers of the sultan's children were slaves; the 
sultan himself was the son of a slave; and his daughters were 
married to men, who, though they might be called vizier and 

1 Spandugino, 78, is probably wrong in his statement that the girls of the harem 
were recruited from gifts, tithes, and tribute. The small number of women in the 
harem would make the elaborate process of tribute-taking unnecessary. 

^ Postcl, i. 34. 

' Navagero, 75; Jovius, Historiarum, ii. 371. But Bragadin, 101, calls her a 
Montenegrin, and Ludovisi, 29, an Albanian; while Busbecq (Life and Letters, 
i. 178) says that she came from the Crimea. Gomara indicates that her Turkish 
name was Gul-behar, the Rose of Spring (Mcrriman, Gomara's Annals of Charles 
V, 141). This confusion of knowledge in regard to so important a personage 
gives evidence of the secrecy which surrounded the sultan's harem. 

* See below, p. 79, note 2. 

' Hammer, Geschichte, i. 232. Spandugino, 69, says that many were made such. 
Menavino, who was himself a page, says that very few were so treated, and only 
for punishment {Trattato, 138). 

^ Spandugino, 69; Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 237. 


pasha, wore these titles at the sultan's pleasure, whereas they 
bore indelibly the title of kul, or slave.^ The sultan's sons, 
though they might sit upon the throne, would be the consorts 
of none but slaves. Long before Suleiman's time, the sultans 
had practically ceased either to obtain brides of royal rank, or 
to give the title of wife to the mothers of their children.^ Sulei- 
man, given to legahty and rehgious observance, and greatly 
devoted to the lovely Roxelana, made her his lawful wife. Since, 
by the Sacred Law, the status of the mother as wife or slave 
does not affect the legitimacy of the children if the father acknowl- 
edges them,^ all children born in the harem were of equal legiti- 
macy and rank. 

Other Ottoman Slave-Families 

The ruling institution of any state is apt to be copied in 
miniature by many organizations within the same state. The 
municipalities of Rome, and the state and city governments 
of the United States, were each modeled after the central govern- 
ment. In a similar way, every great officer of the Ottoman 
court built up a slave-family after the model of the Ruhng 
Institution. The grand vizier had a very large estabUshment; 
the viziers had somewhat smaller ones; the governors of prov- 
inces had households in proportion to their incomes;'* and each 
adult prince kept a miniature government. Not only the slave- 

^ Menavino, 143; " Schaiui chiamati Bascia [pasha]." 

2 Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 112. Selim I, married a princess, daughter of the 
Khan of the Crimean Tartars. This appears to have been the last of such alliances, 
of which there were a number in earher times. 

^ D'Ohsson, vi. 9. 

^ Ibid. vii. 177. In 1537, Junis Bey (below, p. 265) says that Ayas had 600 
slaves, Mustapha 200, Kassim 150, Barbarossa 100. But this account must con- 
tain misprints or errors; for Ramberti (below, p. 246) says that in 1534, Ibrahim 
had more than 6000 slaves, Ayas 2000, Kassim 1500, and Barbarossa about 4000. 
Bragadin, 103, said in 1526, that Ibrahim had 1500 slaves. Mustapha 700, Ayas 
600. Junis Bey (256-258) says further that the Beylerbcys of Rumeha and Ana- 
tolia and Caramania had 1000 slaves each, the Beylerbey of Syria 2000, the Beyler- 
bey of Cairo 4000, etc. Iskender Chelebi had 6000 slaves (Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 
144). GeuiJroy, 240, says of the viziers: " Tous ont saray de femmes et d'enfans 
comme ledict grant Turc." See also Menavino, 143; and Ramberti's description of 
Alvise Gritti's household at the close of his third book. 


family feature but all the other features of the Ruling Institution 
were imitated. All deemed it meritorious to purchase Christians 
and turn them into Moslems. Iskender Chelebi had a highly 
successful educational system;^ he also kept a little standing 
army, and at a later time so did Rustcm.'^ Each great officer 
protected his slaves, each kept them about him like a court, 
each used them as a little government to rule his affairs. Such 
imitation might easily become a danger to the state, but ordinarily 
a prompt remedy could be applied. Every such household was 
strictly personal ; it was gathered about a living man; that man 
was ordinarily himself a slave of the sultan: let him show the 
least movement toward treason, and his head would be removed, 
his property would come to his master, his household would be 
incorporated with the central slave-family, all danger would 
be at an end, and the sultan would only be the stronger. Further 
safeguards lay in the close relations of the head of each slave- 
family to the sultan, and in the fact that some Spahis of the 
Porte and other imperial kullar of inferior position seem usually 
to have been attached to the suite of each great official.' Moslem 
private citizens also kept slave-families as numerous as they 
could afford,'* but these could hardly become dangerous under 
any circumstances. They might emulate the missionary and 
educational character of the greater households, but they would 
not dare attempt any imitation of the military features. Further, 
the whole Ottoman system so discouraged great accumulations 
of wealth that private citizens could never hope to compete 
with the power of officials and of the sultan. 

^ Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 157. Seven of his slaves became viziers and grand 
viziers, among them Mohammed Sokolli. 

2 Iskender Chelebi was followed to war by 1 200 horsemen (Hammer, Geschichte, 
iii. 144). Rustcm trained 200 carbineers as part of his household (Busbecq, Life 
and Letters, i. 242). 

' Garzoni, 413, says that 1000 Spahis were assigned to the retinue of the grand 
vizier, and 500 to those of each of the other pashas. 

* Traclalus, ch. vii. 


Character of Ottoman Slavery 

Ottoman slavery was a very different institution from that 
which Anglo-Saxons have practised. In it there could ordinarily 
be no color-line, and therefore no ineffaceable distinction. Where 
difference in color existed it counted for nothing, by old Islamic 
customs. Nor did the fact of slavery impart any indeUble 
taint. Islam knew slave and free; ^ in the Ottoman Empire, 
at least, it knew no intermediate class of freedmen.^ The 
sultan seems never to have emancipated his slaves, probably 
because of a Hngering Oriental theory, foreign to Mohamme- 
danism,^ that all his subjects were his slaves. Private citizens 
had the power of emancipation,^ and they often exercised it as 
a meritorious act. The slave who was set free was immediately 
in possession of full rights.^ Slavery had therefore no inherent 
quahty. It was merely an accidental misfortune from which 
complete recovery was possible. The idea of Aristotle, that 
some men are born to be slaves, was wholly absent. 

Where no permanent wall of separation exists, natural human 
affection can have free play. The Moslem religion teaches 
kindness and benevolence to all but armed enemies of the faith.^ 
Moslem masters, in constant personal association with persons 
whose condition led them to strive to please, were apt to be- 
come very friendly toward them. Such friendliness often led to 
warm affection and the bestowal of benefits. Emancipation was 
one of these; and, further, not only the sultan but many of 
his subjects did not hesitate to give their daughters in mar- 
riage to worthy slaves.'^ A slave was often beloved above a 

^ D'Ohsson, i. 49. 

2 In the early days non-Arab converts held a position of clientage, but they had 
never been slaves. In the Ottoman Empire new converts were particularly honored, 
so that this distinction was lost. A partial enfranchisement was possible, and might 
sometimes resemble the condition of a Roman freedman. Cf. D'Ohsson, vi. 
28 ff. 

3 According to D'Ohsson, v. 86, no free-bom Moslem could ever lawfully become 
a slave. 

^ D'Ohsson, vi. 24. ^ Ibid. ^ Ibid. iv. 300 ff. 

^ Spandugino, 180. It may be observed that Ottoman slavery bore no slight 
resemblance to the method of bondage which brought from Europe many ancestors 
of present-day Americans. "In the year 1730," says Mrs. Susannah Willard 


son;^ it was felt that, while a son possessed a character which 
was more or less a matter of chance, a slave had been selected. 
Thus it is clear why the sultan's slaves were sometimes called 
his children,^ and why the title of kul was prized.' Suleiman 
was a stern, and sometimes a cruel parent to his great family; 
but he was as just in rewarding as in punishing, and it is not 
surprising that all his slaves were true to him.'* 

Thus was woven what has well been termed " a wonderful 
fabric of slavery." ^ History may have known as large a slave- 
family, but certainly none that was more powerful and honorable, 
better provided for and rewarded, more obedient and more 

Johnson (in her Narrative of Captivity reprinted Springfield, 1907, pp. 5-6) " my 
great-uncle, Colonel Josiah VVillard, while at Boston, was invited to take a walk 
on the long-wharf, to view some transports who had just landed from Ireland; a 
number of gentlemen present were viewing the exercise of some lads who were 
placed on shore to exhibit their activitj' to those who wished to purchase. My 
uncle spied a boy of some vivacity, of about ten years of age, and who was the only 
one in the crew who spoke English: he bargained for him. I have never been able 
to learn the price; but as he was afterwards my husband, I am willing to suppose it 
a considerable sum. . . . He lived with Colonel Willard until he was twenty years 
of age, and then bought the other year of his time." In this account a number of 
the characteristics of the Ottoman system can be observed. Young boys of Cau- 
casian blood are taken from their native land; they are bought and sold; they are 
judged like young animals by appearance and physical activity; no taint attaches 
to their bondage; they may marry into the master's family. The one noteworthy 
difference is that the bondage terminates at a definite age. 

1 rr(;r/a/«,y, " Oratio Tcstimonialis ": " Dcnique domino meo ita cams eram, 
ut saepius in collocutione plurium, plusquam filium suum, quem unicum habebat, 
me diligere assereret," etc. 

2 Postel, iii. 20, says that all the pages were considered children of the sultan, 
and were truly his adopted sons. 

3 Ricaut, 14. * Postel, iii. 21. ^ Ricaut, 16. 



I. The Missionary Motive 

Although almost every member of the governing group in the 
Ottoman Empire had been born a Christian, it was absolutely 
necessary for his advancement that he should profess the Moslem 
faith. A keen contemporary observer knew of only one Chris- 
tian who had been entrusted with great power. Alvise Gritti 
was allowed to hold special command in Hungary, but this 
appointment was made outside the system, as a personal affair 
of the grand vizier Ibrahim, without the concurrence of the 
sultan.^ Various Christians were employed in such matters as 
the superintendence of ship-building and cannon-founding ; ^ 
but this was a purely commercial relationship, and such a man 
had no place in the cursus honorum. The fundamental rule, 
open to the few exceptions previously described, was very simple. 
Every member of the Ruling Institution must have been born 
a Christian and must have become a Mohammedan. 

A number of questions arise at once. Why were none but sons 
of Christians admitted ? Why was conversion essential to 
promotion ? What was the process of accomplishing conver- 
sion ? How thorough was the conversion ? Why were the 
sons of most of the converts, and the grandsons of practically 
all, carefully pushed out of the system ? 

The first of these questions might be answered in terms of 
poHcy of state; but since, in all Moslem thinking, church, state, 
and society form one undivided whole, such an answer would be 
inadequate. Conversion to Mohammedanism meant much 
more than an inward change and an outward association for 
rehgious purposes with a new group of worshippers. It meant 

^ Postel, Hi. 21. ^ Ibid. 71-72; Ramberti, below, p. 255, 



the adoption of a new law for the whole of hfe, beginning with 
the religious and ethical, but including as equally essential 
portions the regulation of all social, commercial, military, and 
political relationships.^ It meant admission to a new social 
system, naturalization in a new nation, an entire separation 
from the old life in all its aspects and a complete incorporation 
with the new. Expansion of membership was always a cardinal 
principle of Mohammedanism; and the expansion was to be not 
merely by the aid of the sword, but far more by peaceful means. 
The sword took the land and sometimes the body of the unbe- 
liever; but his soul was to be won by the benefits of the system, 
first religious, then social, financial, and political.^ Every 
nation that has reached eminence has believed firmly that its 
general system was immensely the superior of every other in the 
world, and no nations have been more thoroughly convinced 
of this than those of Moslem faith. Accordingly, their desire 
to convert the unbehever was founded primarily on benevolence. 
Closely connected with this motive was a burning interest in the 
grandeur of Islam as a militant, expanding system; and subor- 
dinate thereto was a purpose to increase the wealth, numbers, and 
power of the state. 

The Ottoman Attitude 

The Ottoman system incorporated young Christians not 
merely to obtain more faithful, more obedient, and more single- 
hearted servants, but, before and beyond this, to obtain new 
members of the Ottoman nationahty, new believers in the 
Moslem faith, and new warriors for the Ottoman Empire as 
representing Islam. This missionary purpose stands out very 
clearly in the words attributed to Kara Khalil Chendereli, the 
traditional founder of the corps of Janissaries, by a poet-historian 
of the early sixteenth century, who no doubt here, as elsewhere 
in his writings, introduced the ideas of his own day: '' The 

1 HsimmeT, Staalsverfassung, 12. 

2 According to Sale's translation, the Koran says (Sura 2: 257), "Let there 
be no violence in religion." Palmer translates, " There is no compulsion in re- 
ligion." See D'Ohsson, vi. 59; Schiltberger, 73. 


conquered are slaves of the conquerors, to whom their goods, 
their women, and their children belong as a lawful possession; 
in converting the children to Islam by force, and in enrolling 
them as soldiers in the service of the faith, one is working for 
their happiness in this world and their eternal salvation. Accord- 
ing to the words of the Prophet, every infant comes into the 
world with the beginnings of Islam, which, developing in an 
army formed of Christian children, will encourage even in that 
of the infidels the ardor of conversion to Islam; and the new 
troop will recruit itself not merely with the children of the con- 
quered, but also with a crowd of deserters from the enemy, 
united to the behevers by common origin or pretended opinions. ' ' ^ 
The sentiment of this declaration is woven of two strands, both 
ultimately religious, — a desire to convert great numbers to 
Islam, and a purpose to strengthen the army which wars for the 

Mohammed the Conqueror expressed the same idea poetically 
in a letter to Uzun Hassan: " Our empire is the home of Islam; 
from father to son the lamp of our empire is kept burning with 
oil from the hearts of the infidels." ^ This declaration seems to 
reveal two things. First, the Conqueror asserts that, since by 
Moslem theory there can be but one Dar ul-Islam, or land of 
Islam, his empire is the sole lawful Moslem state; second, he 
declares that, by the policy of his house, the empire derives its 
strength from the ever-renewed supply of Christians. Whether 
this exegesis be exact or not, the fact is indisputable that the 
fundamental missionary spirit of Islam was strong in the Otto- 
mans of the sixteenth century,^ and that the RuHng Institution 
was deliberately conducted for the purpose, among others, of 
transferring the ablest and most useful of the subject Christians 
in each generation into the dominant nation. As the first 
Western observer who comprehended the system remarked, 

^ Idris, fol. 107, quoted in Hammer's Geschichie, i. 91. 

2 Quotedibid. ii. 117. 

3 Ricaut, 147-148: " No people in the World have ever been more open to 
receive all sorts of Nations to them, than they, nor have used more arts to encrease 
the number of those that are called Turks." 


" This comes from no accident, but from a certain essential 
interior foundation and cause, which," he feels it his Christian 
duty to say, with a helpless admiration, " is desperation of good, 
and obstinacy in evil, and ... is the work of the devil." ^ 
Not only did Mohammedanism encourage the practice of taking 
in outsiders to serve, fight, and aid in ruling, but this practice 
was thoroughly in harmony with the old Turkish spirit which 
prevailed in the steppe lands, and a similar policy had been 
followed by the Byzantine Empire. Thus, in encouraging the 
incorporation of foreigners the three great influences which 
met in the Ottoman state had exerted a combined activity as 
perhaps in no other direction. The Ruling Institution acted 
for centuries as a great steadily-working machine for conversion. 

Other Motives for Incorporating Christians 

Besides the combined religious and national purpose which 
led to the introduction of Christian youth into the system, 
other motives helped to give it definite shape. That purpose 
alone would hardly have caused a rigid rule to be laid down 
wliich would exclude Mohammedans. Here, undoubtedly,' 
the well-known tendency of governments that rest on force to 
rely upon servants brought from a distance and owing all to 
their favor came strongly into play.^ The sultan's ktdlar were 
uniformly faithful to the hand that had raised them from poverty 
to high position. " Being all slaves by condition, and slaves of 
a single lord, from whom alone they hope for greatness, honor, 
and riches, and from whom alone on the other hand they fear 
punishment, chastisement, and death, what wonder that in his 
presence and in rivalry with each other they will do stupendous 
things ? " ^ Having expected ill treatment from the enemies 
of their nation, they were drawn by the surprising contrast to 
deep gratitude and boundless devotion; ■* they were not attached 
to interests and traditions of family and property which would 
prevent full and loyal obedience; they learned what was taught 

' Tractdlus, ch. viii. ' Bernardo, 369-370, and see also 359. 

^ Ricaut, 46. * Postel, iii. 21. 


them by their master's command, and were not possessed by 
ideas and prejudices that would make them independent in mind 
and intractable. On the contrary, Moslems born and bred in 
pride of religion and nationality could not easily be moulded to 
the shape desired ; the very title of kul was out of harmony with 
their beliefs; hence they were inherently unavailable for the 
system, and the recognition of this fact led to their rigid exclu- 
sion. An important reason for excluding children of renegades 
was that heredity of privilege and office was against Ottoman 
policy. The immunity from taxation that was enjoyed by the 
sultan's officials would tend to the building up of vast fortunes 
that would be beyond the reach of public taxation;^ and the 
power of great families entrenched behind large property interests 
would in time endanger the supremacy of the throne.^ 

The Requirement of Conversion 

Conversion was a principal object of the system, and favor 
and promotion waited as rewards upon acceptance of the Moslem 
faith. In fact, a young man was not fitted to participate in the 
system until he had turned Moslem. He could not be an Otto- 
man warrior and statesman and fail to profess and practise, in 
most respects, at any rate, the system which inspired his fighting 
and on whose principles the state rested. The garment was 
seamless: it must be either worn or not worn. 

At the same time, conversion of the neophytes of the Ruling 
Institution seems not ordinarily to have been forcible.^ The 

1 Ibid. 20. 2 Ricaut, 128 ff. 

^ The general Ottoman attitude on this point is shown by Schiltberger, 73: 
Mohammed " has also ordered, that when they overcome Christians, they should 
not kill them; but they should pervert them, and should thus spread and strengthen 
their own faith." Tractalus, ch. xi, says, " Turci neminem cogunt Fidem suam 
negare, nee multum instant de hoc alicui persuadendo, nee magnam aestimationem 
faciunt de his qui negant." The last clause of this testimony, however, is contrary 
to practically all other sources. Conversion seems sometimes to have been forced 
as an alternative to death when a Christian had offended greatly against the 
Mohammedan faith (Lonicerus, i. 123; see also D'Ohsson, vii. 327). Some writers, 
however, assert that circumcision, the outward mark of acceptance of Islam, was 
regiilarly enforced upon the tribute boys (Chesneau, 41 ; J. Soranzo, 245; Moro- 
sini, as quoted above, p. 41). Heidbom, 128, says that conversion was not 
anciently enforced on a large scale, except for the recruiting of Janissaries. 


Ottomans were too wise to believe that the best results could be 
accomplished by such means. Their policy was rather to throw 
every difficulty in the way of remaining a Christian, and to offer 
every inducement to make the Moslem faith and system seem 
attractive. To this end their educational scheme helped greatly ; ^ 
for it involved complete isolation from Christian ideas of every 
sort, and complete saturation in all the ideas of Mohammedanism, 
religious, moral, social, and poHtical. Even those whose educa- 
tion was mainly physical were isolated from Christians in a 
strict Moslem environment. No doubt there were special 
rejoicings and rewards when a kul was ready to declare, " There 
is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His Prophet," as there 
were in like circumstances in the rest of the Ottoman world.^ 
But the kullar seem not to have been urged to change their faith; 
on the contrary, an attitude of apparent indifference was some- 
times taken with them.'^ Probably, however, few who remained 
long in the system failed to surrender sooner or later. Prej- 
udices of childhood would in time be overcome; what the 
majority did would tend to act powerfully upon the individual; 
the reward of a brilliant career would take clearer and more 
alluring shape, until in time, in the absence of all contrary sug- 
gestion, the real truth and value of the Mohammedan religion 
would make it appear to be the only worthy system. It is not 
surprising that the scheme seemed to Christians one of diabolical 

What went on in the sultan's slave-family in regard to the 
conversion of slaves went on in every Mohammedan household. 
Conversion was desired but not compelled, and reward awaited 
it.^ Among female slaves also, even in the imperial harem, the 
same process was employed. Not merely the imperial slave- 
family, but the entire system of slavery that existed in the Otto- 

1 Ricaut, 46 ff. 

"^ Schiltbergcr, 74; La Broquicre, 219; Spandugino, 249. Ricaut, 152, saj-s that 
great inducement was offered the common people to become Turks; they obtained 
honor and the privilege to domineer and injure with impunity, and they became 
in the fashion. 

^ Tnictaliis, ch. xi, quoted above. 

* D'Ohsson, vi. 59; Ricaut, 148. 


man Empire, was thus a great machine for the conversion of 
Christians into Turks. 

Sincerity of Conversion 

It is not easy to learn what thoughts possessed the hearts of 
the members of the Ruling Institution. Enough is recorded, 
however, to show that not all who turned Moslem did so without 
mental reservation, and to prove that it was possible to hold 
fast to an inward belief in the superiority of Christianity through 
many years spent in the sultan's ser\dce. It has been said 
sometimes that the converted Christians were more severe than 
the Moslems toward their brethren who remained steadfatet.^ 
This would be natural both because of the zeal of new converts, 
and because Christianity is intrinsically less tolerant than Mo- 
hammedanism ; but the accusation does not seem to be supported 
as against the members of the Ruling Institution. A distinction 
must be drawn between behavior in time of war and in time of 
peace. The Janissaries were fierce fighters and terrible enemies; 
but religiously they belonged to a sect which was so liberal as to 
be accused of rank heresy, and even, it is said, to have been 
denied the name of true believers.^ Many of the renegades 
were persons who held no sort of religion.^ The grand vizier 
Rustem told Busbecq, after offering him great rewards if he 
would turn Moslem, that he believed in the salvation of those of 
other faiths;^ and a deli, or scout, in his service confided to a 
French gentleman that, while he pretended to follow Mohamme- 
danism, he was a Christian at heart.^ The fact that a Genoese 
boy, taken at twelve years of age, educated as a favored page for 
eight or nine years, and evidently trained carefully in Moham- 
medan behefs, would seize the first opportunity to escape shows 
what was possible beneath the surface.^ Two generations 
earher there was a renegade who cursed the day when he had 

^ Tractatus, ch. v; Nicolay, 86. 

* Ricaut, 284. 

' Bernardo, 367; Zane, as quoted above, p. 42. See also Jorga, iii. 188. 

* Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 235. 

^ Nicolay, 160-161. ^ Menavino, 244. 


turned Turk, but wh(3 felt that he could not go back.^ Nor 
were the members of the system always submissive to the stricter 
rules of Mohammedan ethics. The Janissaries, for example, 
forced Bayezid II to reopen the wine shops of the capital, which 
in the religious fervor of his later years he had ordered closed ; ^ 
and the members of the government were led by fondness for 
display and lavish expenditure into shameless venality, the 
cause and the effect being equally contrary to the teachings and 
example of Mohammed. The probability is that large numbers 
of the sultan's slaves were merely nominal Mohammedans in 
religious belief, though they necessarily followed the larger part 
of the Moslem scheme of life. 

Effect of the Process 

Sons of Janissaries were not allowed to become Janissaries, 
although the rule began to be infringed about the end of Sulei- 
man's reign.^ Sons of Spahis of the Porte might be admitted 
as pages and to the corps of Spahi-ogJdans, but their grandsons 
were rigidly excluded.^ Sons of great officials were provided 
with fiefs, or pensions, and so usually passed out of the Ruling 
Institution into the territorial army.^ Thus few were allowed 
in the scheme beyond the first generation in the Moslem faith, 
and almost none beyond the second. The explanation of this 
has been given already: descendants of renegades were Moslems, 
and hence subject to the same disqualifications as members of 
Mohammedan families of long standing. Not all Moslems of 
the empire were counted Ottomans, or, as they called themselves, 
Osmanlis, or, as they are commonly called nowadays, Turks; 

^ Tractatus, ch. xxi. 

2 Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 351. 

' Georgevitz (before 1552), 40, " De Ordine Peditum "; Ranke, 19-20; Barbaro 
(1573)? 3°5f 317- Selim II, on his accession granted to the Janissaries the formal 
privilege of entering their sons in the corps; for the Persian war of 1594 the corps 
was opened to other Turks and all Moslems. By 1592, the majority of the 
Janissaries were said to be sons of Turks; Bernardo, 332. See also Knolles (ed. 

1687), 985. 

* Postel, iii. 20. 

' Kanun-nameh of Mohammed II, printed in Hammer's Staalsverfassung, 94. 


for Arabs, Kurds, and other Mohammedans who had not adopted 
the Turkish language did not bear the Turkish name. But all 
the descendants of members of the Ruling Institution were 
added to the Ottoman-Turkish nationality. The total number 
of Janissaries in the three centuries during which they were 
recruited from Christian children has been estimated at five 
hundred thousand;^ but, as reckoned above, the tribute boys 
furnished less than one-half of the recruits of the institution,^ 
and the page system persisted in its original form after the 
Janissaries had become hereditary. From one to two millions 
of the flower of the Christian population must have been brought 
into the Ottoman nation by the operation of the Ruling Institu- 

It does not necessarily follow that a like number of new Turkish 
families were thus founded. The Janissaries were not supposed 
to marry, although the rule was not strictly enforced ; ^ a hundred 
years later, at any rate, the majority are said to have been 
unmarried.* As the Spahis of the Porte probably married late, 
when they married at all, the whole system had thus something 
of a monastic aspect.^ High officials, it is true, were apt to keep 
harems of some size; yet the children even of these were ordi- 
narily few in number.^ Furthermore, the frequent fierce wars 
carried off many of the sultan's slaves, and the danger of execu- 
tion and of confiscation of property put a check on their estab- 
lishment of famihes. It is probable, therefore, that the Ruling 
Institution, like most great slave-famihes, was wasteful of human 
life.^ But although its Christian-born members may not have 

^ Hammer's Geschichte, i. 94. 
2 See p. 49. 

* Spandugino (15 17), 108, says that the Janissaries are not allowed to marry. 
He was probably wrong. Certainly some were married soon after his time: Ram- 
berti (1534), below, p. 249; Junis Bey (1537), below, p. 267; Nicolay (i55i),92. 

* Ricaut, 366. 

^ The resemblance of the Janissaries to monks is noticed by Busbecq, Life aiid 
Letters, i. 88, and Tavernier, 12. 

* Ricaut, 151. 

^ One careful observer thought that this might be true of the whole Ottoman 
nation. Ibid., but in the middle of the fifteenth century contrary testimony was 
given {Tractatus, ch. xi). 


perpetuated their numbers, they nevertheless increased the 
Ottoman nation by the addition of such children as were born to 
them; and the Moslem descendants of these, sailing in quieter 
waters, doubtless became, both numerically and otherwise, a 
great strength to the nation. 

II. The Educational Scheme 

Plato would have been delighted with the training of the 
sultan's great family, though his nature would have revolted 
from its lowliness of birth. He would have approved of the 
life-long education, the equally careful training of body and mind, 
the separation into soldiers and rulers (even though it was not 
complete), the relative freedom from family ties, the system's 
rigid control of the individual, and, above all, of the govern- 
ment by the wise. Whether the founders of the Ottoman 
system were acquainted with Plato will probably never be known, 
but they seem to have come as near to his plan as it is possible 
to come in a workable scheme. In some practical ways they 
even improved upon Plato, — as by avoiding the uncertainties 
of heredity, by supplying a personal directing power, by insuring 
permanence through a balance of forces, and by making their 
system capable of vast imperial rule. 

In the largest sense the Ruling Institution was a school in 
which the pupils were enrolled for life. Constantly under 
careful drill and discipline, they advanced from stage to stage 
through all their days, rewarded systematically in accordance with 
their deserts by promotions, honors, and gifts, and punished rigor- 
ously for infraction of rules, while both rewards and punishments 
increased from stage to stage until the former included all that 
life under the Moslem scheme could olTer, and the latter threat- 
ened to take away the life itself. The system also cared for all 
sides of the nature of its pupils, subject to the considerable 
limitation that it was especially a school of war and government. 
The bodies of all were trained as thoroughly as were the minds 
of the best. Though all received some mental training, includ- 
ing at least an acquaintance with the Moslem mode of life, the 
ablest were put through a severe course in Oriental languages 


and Moslem and Ottoman law, which embraced ethics and theol- 
ogy. Thus both body and mind, as well as the religious nature, 
were provided for systematically and through hfe. Looked at 
thus, the Ottoman educational scheme, in its relations to the 
whole lives of those under instruction, was more comprehensive 
than any Western institution of learning. The officers of a 
Western army are educated and organized in a life-long system 
which provides for both body and mind; but they do not learn 
theology and they do not govern the nation. Great American 
railroads and manufacturing corporations possess schemes of 
education and advancement which bear comparison to the Otto- 
man system in life-long scope, promotion for merit, and the 
possibility of rising from the bottom to the top; but the mental 
training which they give even to their ablest helpers is of a highly 
technical sort, which bears no comparison to the general learning 
and finished culture bestowed upon the most studious in the 
Ottoman scheme. In general, Western universities and educa- 
tional systems, although they far surpass the Ottoman scheme 
in the scope and character of the intellectual training which they 
give, do not provide a comparable systematic training of the body; 
and their control over the lives of their students ceases early. 
The superior comprehensiveness of the Ottoman system was, 
of course, based upon the fact that its members were slaves. 
Their master could keep them at school all their lives, in order 
that they might become better and better trained to serve him. 
At the same time, reward was considered more potent than the 
rod. Unequalled prizes were offered in this school, so skilfully 
disposed and graded as to call out the utmost strivings and the 
best work of every pupil. 

The first stages of the wide scheme, which constitute the 
educational system in its narrower sense, were a fitting intro- 
duction to the rest. All the recruits for the sultan's slave-family, 
whether captured, bought, presented, or levied, to the number 
of probably three or four thousand annually, with an addition 
of ten or twelve thousand in the years of the devshurmeh,^ were 
brought by a regular process before trained officials, carefully 

^ See the calculation above, p. 49. 


registered, and divided into two classes.^ Those who best 
satisfied the criterions of bodily perfection, muscular strength, 
and intellectual ability so far as it could be judged without long 
testing,^ — about one in every ten of the whole number, — were 
chosen for a superior quality of training, especially on the intel- 
lectual side. The remainder were destined for a different educa- 
tion, which was mainly physical.^ The first regularly became 
pages and Spahis of the Porte, and the ablest of them rose to the 
great offices of the army and the government. The others 
regularly became Ajem-oghlans and Janissaries, but the ablest 
of these might also rise to positions as Spahis of the Porte and 
even as generals and officers of state."* Failure to be selected for 
the higher school was not, therefore, a final restriction to low 
position. Merit was recognized everywhere, and regularly led 
to promotion. At the same time, it was a distinct advantage 
to a young man to be chosen for the higher training, since he 
would receive greater care, would acquire more of both ornamen- 
tal and useful learning, and would associate with those already 
great, and perhaps with the sultan himself. 

The Colleges of Pages 

Of those selected for the higher training, a portion were dis- 
tributed among the households of the provincial governors and 
high officers at the capital.^ These were probably brought up 
in much the same way as if they had remained with the sultan. 
The very choicest of the recruits, to the number of perhaps two 
hundred annually, or twelve to fifteen hundred in all,^ were 

1 Navagero, 50; Barbara, 316; Nicolay, 84. J. Soranzo, 245, states that the 
tribute boys were all brought to Constantinople, circumcised, and brought before 
the Agha of the Janissaries. Record was made of the name of each, of his father's 
name, and of his native place. Soranzo's accuracy is questionable, as when he 
says that the greater part were put into palaces in Constantinople. 

2 Postel, iii. 17; Ricaut, 46. 

3 Ricaut, 74: " In whom appearing more strength of body than of mind, they 
are set apart for labor and menial services." 

* Busbecq, De Re MilUari, 260. 

6 Spandugino, 104: the emperor chooses a few and sends the rest to the towns 
of the Turks of Anatolia to live with the lords and gentlemen. 

8 Spandugino speaks of 900; Junis Bey and Ramberti, 1400; Geuflroy, 1200; 
Postel, 1300 to 1500. 


taken into three palaces of the sultan as Itch-oghlans, or pages. 
Three or four hundred were in the palace at Adrianople/ a like 
number in one at Galata,^ and from five to eight hundred in the 
principal palace at Stamboul.'^ These were all handsome boys, 
physically perfect, and of marked intellectual promise. An 
excellent idea of the international character of the college is given 
by a Venetian writer, who said that the pages of the palace 
included Bulgarians, Hungarians, Transylvanians, Poles, Bohe- 
mians, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, a few French, many 
Albanians, Slavs, Greeks, Circassians, and Russians.^ 

The Itch-oghlans were dressed in suitable raiment and were well 
cared for without luxury.^ That the sultan took a particular 
interest in the arrival of excellent specimens is evident from the 
reception that Menavino received.^ The general Ottoman 
attitude toward the pages, and indeed toward all recruits, has 
been well expressed by a thoughtful observer: " The Turks 
rejoice greatly when they find an exceptional man, as though 
they had acquired a precious object, and they spare no labor or 
effort in cultivating him; especially if they discern that he is 
fit for war. Our plan [that is, in Western Europe] is very dif- 
ferent; for if we find a good dog, hawk, or horse, we are greatly 
dehghted, and we spare nothing to bring it to the greatest per- 
fection of its kind. But if a man happens to possess an extraordi- 
nary disposition, we do not take like pains; nor do we think 
that his education is especially our affair; and we receive much 
pleasure and many kinds of service from the well-trained horse, 
dog, and hawk; but the Turks much more from a well-educated 
man {ex homine bonis morihus informato), in proportion as the 
nature of a man is more admirable and more excellent than that 
of the other animals." ^ 

1 Junis Bey and Ramberti, 300; Geuffroy, 300. 

2 Junis Bey and Ramberti, 400; Geuffroy, 400; Postel (iii. 20), 600 or 700. 

3 Junis Bey and Ramberti, 700; Geuffroy, 500; Postel (iii. 3), 700 or Soo. 
* Navagero, 42. See also Tanco, 205. 

^ Menavino, 13. Postel, iii. 17, says that, when presented, they were clothed 
in silk and cloth of gold or silver; but Ricaut, 49, says that their clothing and diet 
were simple. 

® Menavino, 11 ff. 

^ Bushecq,DeReMilitari,262-26s. 


That the primary object of the page system was educational 
appears from all contemporary observations. Not merely are 
their palaces termed " places for nourishing youths," ^ but 
Menavino calls the place where he was taught " the palace 
school." - Another writer gives chapters on " The Education 
of Young Men in the Seraglio," and " The Studies and Learning 
in the Seraglio," ^ and speaks of the young men as " designed 
for the great offices of the empire." Another says, " And the 
said emperor does this good for the profit of his soul, and when 
they are grown up he takes them from there and gives them 
dignities and offices, according as it seems to the emperor they 
have deserved." ^ Some of the pages were the personal servants 
of the sultan, and a band of thirty-nine constituted his gentlemen 
of the bedchamber, or Khas Oda} These were the elite of all, 
chosen by selection after selection; and, though young, they 
ranked very high in the system. Since only a few of all the 
pages could attain to this honor, the remainder were at school 
for outside service.^ 

Besides many less direct descriptions of the course of training, 
two exist which are derived from men who passed through the 
palace school. Menavino tells his own story ;^ and Ricaut 

* Postel, iii. 2. 

2 Menavino, 126. 
' Ricaut, chs. v-vi. 

* Spandugino, 63. See also Nicolay, 84; and the quotations in the last section 
of Chapter i, above. 

^ D'Ohsson, vii. 34. 

' Hammer {Gcschichle, i. 232), by a singular perversion of the truth, asserts 
that the page system had its origin and primary purpose in the satisfaction of 
the unnatural lusts of Bayezid I and his successors. Not only does the whole 
structure and organization of the system disprove this, but the absence of reference 
to such a purpose in all contemporary writers is sufticicnt to settle the matter. The 
vice which takes its name from Sodom was very prevalent among the Ottomans, 
especially among those in high position (Spandugino, 186; Busbecq, Life and 
Letters, I. 22,2; Ricaut, 151,211; D'Ohsson, iv. 473). The pages were apt to be 
afiQicted by it, and were carefully watched to prevent it, and terribly punished 
if discovered (Ricaut, 60). Occasionally a sultan became enamored of a page 
(Ricaut, 61); but Suleiman seems to have been free from this vice (Busbecq, i. 
159; Marini Sanuto, Diarii, December 6, 1523). 

' Menavino, 126-128. He was a page from about 1505 to 1514 {ibid. 


records what he learned from a PoHsh captive who had spent 
nineteen years in the sultan's service and had reached high 
position.^ Although these accounts were written one hundred 
and fifty years apart, they agree in essentials. Menavino 
does not refer to the physical training in arms and horsemanship ; 
but at the time of his escape he showed himself, if not a coura- 
geous, yet an accomplished horseman. Postel, some twenty 
years after Menavino's time, describes this training in some 
detail. He probably had his information from a French page 
named Cabazolles, whom he quotes as authority on one point.^ 

The pages were trained in the art of war, the use of all sorts of 
arms, and good horsemanship.'^ Suleiman took especial delight 
in watching their cavalry evolutions, and occasionally sum- 
moned a page who pleased him, conversed with him, and dis- 
missed him with presents.^ Also, by old Oriental custom, every 
page was taught some handicraft useful in his master's service, 
and, no doubt, intended to provide for his own support in case 
of need.^ 

Menavino describes the course of study in the so-called Yeni 
Oda, or New Chamber, which contained from eighty to a hundred 
boys. " When a boy has remained five or six days in that school, 
they set him to learning the alphabet. There are four teachers 
in the school. One drills the boys in reading during their first 
year. Another teaches the Koran in the Arabic (Moresco) 
language, giving explanations of the different articles of their 
faith. After this a third teaches books in the Persian tongue, 
and some write a little, but they do not teach writing willingly. 
A fourth teaches Arabic books, both vulgar and literary." It is 
interesting to notice that, from the first, rewards in the form of 

^ Ricaut, " To the Reader," 45-62. This describes the system as it was about 

2 Postel, iii. 11. 

* Ibid. 19; Ricaut, 50. 

* Postel, iii. 10; Ricaut, 50. 

^ Ricaut, 51. The same custom was observed in the education of the princes 
and of all children of great officials (Spandugino, 179). Tanco, 197-198, says he 
has heard that Suleiman himself labored daily at a trade, so that even the Prince 
should earn his bread by the sweat of his brow; see also Jorga, ii. 343. 


pay were given for labor. " These boys," continues Menavino, 
" have a daily allowance of two aspers during the first year, three 
during the second year, four during the third year, and thus 
their allowance increases each year. They receive scarlet gar- 
ments twice a year, and some robes of white cloth for the sum- 
mer." ^ Postel describes how they learned with great diligence 
Arabic and Turkish letters and the law.^ Ricaut explains in 
more detail that the chief object of the course of study was to 
teach reading and writing for the purpose of giving inspection 
into the books of law and religion, especially the Koran. He 
says that Arabic was taught to enable the boys to inspect the 
writings of the judges and to have knowledge of rehgion, Persian 
to give them quaint words and handsome and gentle deportment, 
and adds that both tongues might be needed in governing 
Eastern regions. He gives a list of their text-books, and remarks 
that those who wished to become men of the pen studied with 
greater exactness. They were not, he says, taught logic, physics, 
metaphysics, mathematics, or geography, and their knowledge 
of ancient history was much mixed. " Yet as to the successes 
and progress of Affairs in their own Dominions," he adds, " they 
keep most strict Registers and Records, which serve them as 
Presidents and Rules for the present Government of their Af- 
fairs." ^ This shows that the pages were instructed in Turkish 
history and the various Kanun-namehs , or imperial laws. Most 
of the teachers were Anatolian Turks,'* chosen no doubt, as 
imparting better pronunciation and more orthodox religious 

Discipline was severe,^ but was kept within bounds. A page 
could be beaten on the soles of his feet with no more than ten 
strokes, and not more than once on any one day.^ The boys, 
organized in groups of ten, were watched carefully by eunuchs, 
both day and night.^ Absolute obedience, modest behavior and 

1 Menavino, 126, 127. ' Ricaut, 59. 

2 Postel, iii. 10. * Navagero, 43. 

* Ricaut, 48, says that in the three colleges of education the eunuchs exercised 
>'ery severe discipline beyond that of monks. 
^ Menavino, 127. 
" Ramberti, below, pp. 244, 245; Junis Bey, below, p. 263; Ricaut, 49. 


decorum, and good manners were taught with great insistency.^ 
The two sections, or odalar, at the palace seem to have been of 
equal rank,^ while the schools in Pera and Adrianople ranked 
lower.' Select boys who had finished their studies were promoted 
through the different chambers of the personal service of the 
sultan to the Inner Chamber,* where twelve or fifteen of the 
thirty-nine held titular ofiices.^ On reaching the age of twenty- 
five every page was sent out from the school.^ Those from the 
Inner Chamber passed at once to places in the Noble Guard 
(Muteferrika), or to governorships of towns.^ Ibrahim passed 
almost directly to the place of grand vizier; ^ but he was the first 
to break the regular order of promotion, and in after times much 
evil was held to date from the precedent.^ The majority passed 
into the regular cavalry, or Spahis of the Porte.^^ Those who 
left the school were honored by a ceremony of farewell. The 
sultan personally commended each one, and gave him encourage- 
ment for good conduct in his new position. He presented each 
with an embroidered coat and one of his most beautiful horses, 
and often a gift in money. The young man, with all the presents 
he had received during his stay, was escorted to the great gate, 
where he mounted his horse triumphantly, and departed from 
the palace forever. ^^ 

The Harem 

Probably because of the tendency of the human mind to 
construct along parallel lines, the imperial harem partook of 
the characteristics of the schools of pages. There were two 

1 Ricaut, 49: "Their first Lessons are silence, reverence, humble and modest 
behaviour, holding their heads downwards, and their hands across before them." 

2 Ibid. 48. ^ D'Ohsson, vii. 47. 

* Ricaut, 51; D'Ohsson, vii. 34 ff. These chambers were the Kiler-odassi, or 
Pantry; the Khazineh-odassi, or Treasure Chamber; the Khas-odassi, or Inner 
Chamber. See below, pp. 126-128. 

^ Ricaut, 52. ^ Postel, iii. 11. ^ Spandugino, 62. 

8 Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 32. ' Ibid. 490. 

^° Ramberti (below, p. 244) says that they became Spahi-oghlans, SUihdars, and 
oflScials of higher degree according to their worth and to the favor which they had 
gained with the sultan; Junis Bey, below, p. 263. 

11 Menavino, 138. 


odalar, or rooms, for the recruits of the harem, in which they were 
taught housework, sewing and embroidery, manners and deport- 
ment.^ They were organized in groups of ten, each group under 
a matron. Those with a taste for music and dancing learned 
those accompHshments, those who were studious learned to 
read and write. All were carefully instructed in the system of 
Islam. Like the pages, nearly all of them passed out of the 
palace at the age of twenty-five, being given in marriage to 
Spahis of the Porte or to other officials.^ Thus the harem might 
be considered a training-school of slave-wives for the sultan 
himself and for the most highly honored of his kullar. 

The Ajem-oghlans 

The term ajemi-oghlanlar signifies " foreign youth," and was 
sometimes applied to all the young recruits. Ordinarily, how- 
ever, it was given only to the remainder left after the pages 
had been selected. These, for the most part destined to become 
Janissaries, probably numbered about twenty thousand.^ Their 
training was largely physical, industrial, and military, with 
oral instruction in the Turkish language and the principles of the 
Mohammedan system. The Ajcm-oghlans usually passed through 
two or three stages. Unless they knew Turkish and something 
of Turkish ways, they were first scattered through Asia Minor 
in the service of Moslem country gentlemen.^ There they were 
set at hard agricultural labor, to strengthen their bodies to the 
utmost. They were expected to learn to speak and understand 
the Turkish language and to learn the faith, the laws, and the 
customs of the Turks. The sultan allowed them no pay. The 

* Ricaut, 71; Postel, i. 33; Nicolay, 64; D'Ohsson, vii. 64. 

' Ramberti, below, p. 254 (" he marries them to Spahi-oghlans, or to others of the 
slaves of the Porte according to the degree and condition of both parties " ); Junis 
Bey, below, p. 269; GeulTroy, 244; Chesneau, 40; Nicolay, 64. 

' Trevisano, 130, speaks of 16,400; but this number does not seem sufBcicnt 
to account for all. 

* Chalcocondyles, 97; Spandugino, 103; Ramberti, 255; Junis Bey, 270; (they 
are sent "to dig earth in order to learn Turkish"); Zcno, 127; GeutTroy, 243; 
Navagero, 50. Chesneau, 44, states that those Ajem-oghlans who were levied in 
Anatolia were sent to gentlemen in Rumelia. 


gentlemen whom they served, responsible for them to the sultan, 
supplied them with food and clothing and whatever else they were 
pleased to give.^ The number of these Ajem-oghlans of the first 
stage may be estimated as ten thousand.^ At the end of two or 
three years, or perhaps at about the time for a new devshurmeh,^ 
officers came to examine them. If they knew enough Turkish 
and were strong and well-grown, they passed to the next stage. 

Having been brought to Constantinople, and once more 
carefully inscribed and estimated,^ the Ajem-oghlans were again 
distributed, but now in groups. About two thousand were 
assigned to service with the fleet at Gallipoli.^ Another two 
thousand, probably the most intelhgent, were appointed as 
gardeners, or Bostanjis, to the sultan's palaces in Stamboul, 
Adrianople, Brusa, and Magnesia;^ and five hundred or more 
served in other capacities about the palaces, as wood-cutters, 
helpers in the kitchen, and the like.'' Five or six thousand were 
kept in Constantinople and employed in the shipyards or on 
pubhc buildings,^ or were hired out in bands of one hundred or 
more to private citizens for hard labor of various sorts.^ Some 
were hired out similarly in other cities.^" In the midst of such a 
variety of occupations, two objects seem always to have been 
kept in mind, — the Ajem-oghlans were to develop the utmost 
strength of body, and they were to learn some trade useful in 
war.ii jj-^ |-}-jJ5 stage they were normally organized in groups or 

^ Ramberti, below, p. 255; Junis Bey, below, p. 270; Nicolay, 86. 

2 Giovio, Commentarius, 78; Junis Bey, as above. 

3 Ramberti and Junis Bey, as above, say after three or four years; Geuffroy, 
243, after four years. Navagero, 50, says that every two or three years, as the 
service demands, an officer takes those who are ready; some have served two or 
three, some four or five years. Trevisano, 130, says that they are left six or 
seven years. 

* Ricaut, 77. 

^ Chalcocondyles, 97; Spandugino, 104; Navagero, 52. 

^ Navagero, 52; Postel, iii. 22, 25. 

' Spandugino, 76. 

8 Ramberti, 254, says 5000; Junis Bey, 269, says 4000 or 5000; Geuffroy, 242, 
says 5000 or 6000; Trevisano, 129, says 6800; Garzoni, 415, says 6000; Postel, 
iii. 25, says 5000 to 7000; D. Barbarigo, ^^, says 7600. 

8 Junis Bey, 269; Navagero, 51; Trevisano, 129; Postel, iii. 25. 

^° Trevisano, 129. " Giovio, Commentarius, 77. 


messes of ten. The gardeners were under the charge of an ofTicial 
of high rank and great authority, who bore the humble title of 
Bostanji-bas/ii, or head gardener; he was aided by under officers 
and an administrative staff. Those in Constantinople were 
under the orders of an Agha, or general officer, with a staff of 
under officials, clerks, and accountants.^ Being filled with the 
spirit of youth, conscious of their superior physical strength and 
privileged position, gathered together in large groups, and 
unrestrained by substantial mental instruction, the Ajem- 
oghlans were by no means easy to manage. They frequently 
raised great disturbances in the city, in emulation perhaps of 
the Janissaries.- Those who wished were allowed to learn to 
read and write, but they were not obliged to do so.^ They 
received a small amount of pay, with food and clothing.* 

After a certain time spent in this stage of development, the 
majority of the Ajem-oghlans were assigned, one by one as each 
seemed ready, to the service of the odalar, or messes, of the 
Janissaries.^ The latter then became responsible for their 
training in the art of war, and discharged this duty with much 
zeal. In the course of time, as the Ajem-oghlans acquired suffi- 
cient skill, and as vacancies occurred, they were enrolled as 
full-fledged Janissaries.^ The gardeners of the sultan's palaces 
and the palace servants seem not ordinarily to have become 
Janissaries, but to have been advanced toward the directing 
of the transport, commissary, and artillery services, the oversight 
of the imperial stables, and like positions in the administration 

1 Ramberti, below, p. 254; Junis Bey, below, p. 269; D'Ohsson, vii. 28. 

2 Postel, Hi. 25. 

* Postel, iii. 22, says that only those who had special privilege from the sultan 
were allowed to learn letters. Ricaut, 76, sajs that some of those in the palace 
service were taught to read and write. In D'Ohsson's time (vii. 327), each oda 
had a hoja to teach reading and writing to those who wished. 

* Junis Bey, 26g, 270, says that they had 2 or 3 aspers per day at first, and 
more as they advanced, and that their chief was allowed 100,000 aspers a year for 
their food and clothing. Postel, iii. 23, says that their chief was allowed 10,000 
aspers a day to keep them and pay them, and other money for their clothing. 

* Ramberti, 254; Junis Bey, 270; Postel, iii. 25. 

* Spandugino, 104. Trevisano, 130, says that they became such at from 20 to 
25 years old, according to their mind, value, or favor. 


of the army and the great household. ^ No doubt some of those 
assigned to the fleet were promoted in the navy, but most of 
them seem to have become Janissaries.^ Thus a large number 
and variety of openings lay before the Ajem-oghlatis, who as 
they became ready were advanced into them. The ordinary age 
of graduation from the corps was twenty-five years,^ which may 
be regarded as the age of majority for all the sultan's slaves. 
At times war caused such depletion of the upper service that 
Ajem-oghlans were promoted before they had reached the desired 
age or were thoroughly ready.^ 

Advancement Based on Merit 

The entire system from start to finish was designed to reward 
merit and fully to satisfy every ambition that was backed by 
ability, effort, and sufficient preparation. Two parallel lines 
of reward were established, the honorable and the financial. 
In the page school the first was represented by promotion from 
class to class, and, in the case of those who were observed to be 
the most suitable, by advancement through the chambers of 
personal service to the Khas Oda. In this oda they were pro- 
moted in regular order through the twelve or more special 

Among the Ajem-oghlans the process seems to have been carried 
on by carefully observing and testing individuals, by advancing 
them from stage to stage on this basis, and by entrusting them 
in the later stages with greater and greater responsibilities. 
The financial reward began for the pages immediately upon 
admission to the school. It was then probably about equal to 
the daily wages of an unskilled laborer. This was increased 
regularly year by year, and in the Khas Oda reached the propor- 

^ Ricaut, 76. But those of the principal palace in Constantinople had greater 
opportunities; they might become Janissaries, Solaks, Kapujis, etc. (Ramberti, 
below, p. 245.) 

2 Chalcocondyles, 97. 

' Trevisano, 130; Barbaro, 316; Garzoni, 397. 

* Zinkeisen, iii. 228. 

^ Ricaut, 53; D'Ohsson, vii. 34-39- 


tions of a handsome salary. ^ The Ajem-oghlans depended during 
the first stage on the rewards assigned by their temporary 
masters. After that stage they began to receive a small amount 
of pay from the sultan, which was gradually increased.^ All 
were provided with food, lodging, and at least a part of their 
clothing, and individuals might hope to obtain special gifts. 

This double system was continued without a break through 
the entire institution. The lowest Janissary might hopefully 
aspire to promotion, either through the hierarchy of office in his 
own corps, or by being lifted out of it for service in the cavalry 
or the active administration.^ The pages who had passed out 
of the school were already well up in the scale of advancement, 
and every place except the sultan's own was within their grasp. 
The grand vizier, indeed, might wield almost the whole of the 
sultan's power, a fact which Ibrahim, shortly before his fall, 
realized so fully that he added to his title of Seraskier the word 
Sultan.^ The losses occasioned by fierce and frequent wars, 
and by not infrequent depositions and executions, gave abundant 
opportunity for men to rise from below. Conquest was con- 
tinually adding new offices and commands. The whole Ruling 
Institution was, so to speak, in a constant state of boiling, in 
which the human particles were rapidly rising to the top, and, 
alas, disappearing, while others rose as rapidly behind them. 

The figure just employed is applicable, however, only to the 
mere phenomenon of rising: the upward movement was not in 
the least accidental or automatic; it was conducted with keen 
intelhgence at every stage. Now and then, as in the case of 
Ibrahim, favor disturbed the scheme; but this happened very 
seldom before the end of Suleiman's reign. Sometimes a tem- 
porary confusion resulted from extraordinary losses in war, 
but order was soon restored. There is reason to believe that 
human history has never known a political institution which 
during so long a period was so completely dominated by sheer 

* Ramberti, below, p. 244; Junis Bey, below, p. 263; Ricaut, 53. 
2 Junis Bey, as quoted above, p. 8i, note 4. 

' Chalcocondylcs, 171; Barbaro, 305; Nicolay, 89 ("the wages of each are 
increased, according to the merit of their military valor "). 

* Hammer, Geschichte, iii. i6o. 


intellect, and thereby so unerringly held to its original plan and 
purpose, as was the Ottoman Ruling Institution. The democ- 
racy of Athens attained an unexampled level of average intelli- 
gence, but under its sway the exceptional mind received discour- 
agement rather than exceptional training. The free democracies 
of the present age allow the gifted individual opportunities to 
fight his way upward, but against obstacles which sometimes 
become insuperable. These systems are unquestionably superior 
on the whole to the Ottoman scheme, because of their inclusive- 
ness and individual freedom; but as regards sheer efficiency, 
unobstructed opportunity, and certainty of reward, their opera- 
tion is wasteful, clumsy, and blind by comparison. 

Some testimonies of shrewd contemporary observers will 
show how they regarded the Ottoman scheme of promotion 
both in itself and in comparison with Western ways. The 
intelHgent author of the Tractatus is impressed by the unity 
and control of the scheme. " Out of the aforesaid slaves," 
he writes, " promotions are made to the ofiices of the kingdom 
according to the virtues found in them. Whence it comes about 
that all the magnates and princes of the whole kingdom are as it 
were officials made by the king, and not lords or possessors; 
and as a consequence he is the sole lord and possessor, and the 
lawful dispenser, distributer, and governor of the whole kingdom; 
the others are only executors, officials, and administrators 
according to his will and command. . . . Whence it follows 
that in his kingdom, although there is an innumerable multitude, 
no contradiction or opposition can arise; but, united as one 
man in all respects and for all purposes, they look to his command 
alone, they obey and serve unwear3dngly." ^ 

Postel says: " The Seigneur [or sultan] has four or several 
principal personages for all the business of his empire, whether 
in war or justice, and they are promoted to this honor by degrees 
from lower offices, always mounting and giving good examples of 
living, unless by some extraordinary favor the prince raises 
them from some low place, which is very perilous." ^ Speaking 
of the pages in the palace, he adds: " When they have Hved 

1 Tractatus, ch. viii. ^ Postel, i. 121. 


there a long time and done well, they are given a place where they 
receive pay, and they are made Castellans and given other offices 
used among them. If there are some who have the ability to 
make themselves known, they may have the best fortune in the 
world, and become governors of the land and Pashas; for there 
they judge of nobiHty by the worth which they see appearing 
in a man, and they give honors according to the evidence of 
his past." ^ Of Suleiman, Tanco says, " He sows hope of certain 
reward in all conditions of men, who by means of virtue, may 
succeed in mounting to better fortune "; and of the Janissaries, 
" Each has his good and real fortune in his hand." ^ 

Among all observers, Busbecq seems to have been most 
impressed with the system of advancement by merit. " The 
Turks," he tells us, " do not measure even their own people by 
any other rule than that of personal merit. The only exception 
is the house of Ottoman; in this case, and in this case only, does 
birth confer distinction." ^ 

Referring to his audience with Suleiman, he says: " There was 
not in all that great assembly a single man who owed his position 
to aught save his valour and his merit. No distinction is attached 
to birth among the Turks; the deference to be paid to a man is 
measured by the position he holds in the pubhc service. There 
is no fighting for precedence; a man's place is marked out by the 
duties he discharges. In making his appointments the sultan 
pays no regard to any pretensions on the score of wealth or rank, 
nor does he take into consideration recommendations or popu- 
larity; he considers each case on its own merits, and examines 
carefully into the character, ability, and disposition of the man 
whose promotion is in question. It is by merit that men rise 
in the service, a system which ensures that posts should only 
be assigned to the competent. Each man in Turkey carries in 
his own hand his ancestry and his position in life, which he may 
make or mar as he will. Those who receive the highest offices 
from the sultan are for the most part the sons of shepherds or 
herdsmen, and so far from being ashamed of their parentage, 

1 Ibid. iii. 19. ' Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 105. 

2 Tanco, 197, 206. 


they actually glory in it, and consider it a matter of boasting 
that they owe nothing to the accident of birth; for they do not 
beheve that high qualities are either natural or hereditary, nor 
do they think that they can be handed down from father to son, 
but that they are partly the gift of God, and partly the result of 
good training, great industry, and unwearied zeal; arguing 
that high qualities do not descend from a father to his son or 
heir, any more than a talent for music, mathematics, or the like; 
and that the mind does not derive its origin from the father, so 
that the son should necessarily be like the father in character, 
but emanates from heaven, and is thence infused into the human 
body. Among the Turks, therefore, honours, high posts, and 
judgeships are the rewards of great ability and good service. 
If a man be dishonest, or lazy, or careless, he remains at the bot- 
tom of the ladder, an object of contempt; for such quahties there 
are no honours in Turkey! 

" This is the reason that they are successful in their under- 
takings, that they lord it over others, and are daily extending 
the bounds of their empire. These are not our ideas; with us 
there is no opening left for merit; birth is the standard for every- 
thing; the prestige of birth is the sole key to advancement in the 
public service." ^ 

Finally, Ricaut, after describing the Ajem-oghlans, declares 
that this part of the system " is one of the most Politick Con- 
stitutions in the World, and none of the meanest supports of the 
Ottoman Empire." ^ 

Financial rewards paralleled advancement in office with great 
exactness. When a man came to high position, he was provided 
with the means to Hve splendidly in proportion to his rank. 
In addition to his salary, many opportunities of increasing his 
income presented themselves; and though some of these would 
be considered undignified in Western eyes,^ and others were 
undoubtedly stained with rapacity and extortion,* they were 

* Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 154-155. 

2 Ricaut, 77. 

3 Spandugino, 185; Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 108. 

* Spandugino, 132. 


allowed to be enjoyed under all ordinary circumstances. The 
sultan's higher officials not only lived in great splendor, with a 
numerous retinue, a large harem, and many costly garments, 
dishes, gems, and the like, but they often accumulated great 
wealth in money, houses, lands, mills, horses, cattle, sheep, and 
everything else that is considered worth collecting.' Thus, as 
men were promoted, they were enabled regularly to proportion 
display of wealth to rank and office. 

The example of one of Suleiman's chief servants will illustrate 
the cursiis honorum in the Ottoman system. Ali Pasha was a 
native of Dalmatia. Levied with the tribute boys, he was ad- 
mitted to the principal palace at the time when Ibrahim was 
Oda-hashi, or head of the Inner Chamber of pages. In the course 
of time he was made Kapuji, or gatekeeper. When Ibrahim 
became grand vizier, Ali became Chasnejir, or chief taster, to 
Suleiman, and held that office during the expedition to Vienna 
in 1529. In due course he was discharged from the palace, and 
appointed to high office outside. He soon reached the grade of 
Aglia, or general or the Ghurebas, the lowest of the four divisions 
of the regular cavalry, and was then promoted to be AgJia of the 
SpaJii-oghlans, the highest of the cavalry divisions. Next he 
became second equerry and later first equerry {Emir-al-Akhor) , 
then Agha of the Janissaries, then Beylerbey of Rumelia. In the 
last capacity he attended the sultan in the Persian war of 1548- 
1549. As a reward for special services in the war he was made 
pasha of Egypt in 1549, and at the time of his departure was 

^ The grand vizier Rustem's wealth is summed up in detail in Hammer's 
Geschichle, iii. 386: " He himself left at his death an immense fortune; no 
grand vizier before him had amassed so much wealth. His estate consisted of 
815 farms in Rumelia and Anatolia, 476 water mills, 1700 slaves, 2900 war horses, 
1 106 camels, 5000 richly embroidered coats and robes of honor, 8000 turbans, iioo 
caps of cloth of gold, 2900 coats of mail, 2000 cuirasses, 600 saddles finished in 
silver, 500 others adorned with gold and precious stones, 1500 helmets plated with 
silver, 130 pairs of golden stirrups, 760 sabres adorned with precious stones, 1000 
lances trimmed with silver, 800 Korans, 130 of which were set with diamonds, 5000 
volumes of various works, 78,000 ducats, 32 precious stones representing a value of 
112 donkey-loads (that is to say, 11,200,000 aspers); the ready money which was 
found in his house was estimated at 1000 loads (100,000,000 aspers, or 2,000,000 


nominated vizier. Returning to Constantinople in 1553, he 
was made third vizier, and upon the death of Rustem in 1561, he 
became grand vizier. Because of jealousies and enmities caused 
by his promotions he had hardly a friend left; nevertheless, he 
was able to hold the favor of Suleiman until his death in 1565.^ 


The system did not attempt to rely wholly upon the glittering 
attractions of indefinite promotion and enormously increasing 
wealth. Not all men can be allured to remain unswer\dngly 
within a narrow path of strict obedience and whole-hearted 
service. Pages and Ajem-oghlans were held to severe discipline 
by sufficient and certain punishment; but their teachers and 
eunuch masters were required to keep that punishment within 
bounds by the certainty of yet severer punishment.^ Ajem- 
oghlans might be beaten, or sold out of the sultan's service. 
After the close of the strictly educational period, punishment, 
like reward, followed continuously the law of proportionate 
increase. The higher the position, the heavier the punishment 
of being passed over in promotion, or of being actually degraded. 
Fines and confiscations also grew with rank. At no great height 
in the scale, the personal punishments reached that of death, 
and death was always very near the highest officials. Any 
tendency toward treason or revolt, any act of disobedience, 
sometimes a plot against a higher official, sometimes even a 
disagreement with the sultan in a matter of policy,^ would lead 
to sudden execution. The viziers of Selim I carried their wills 
in their bosoms; and well they might, since the heads of seven 
are said to have fallen at his command.^ 

Thus was the system carefully kept clear of all the human 
material that seemed to endanger its working or threaten its 
unity. There was no sympathy for weakness, no accepting of 
excuses, no suspension of sentence, no mercy. Suleiman did 

1 D. Barbarigo, 30-33. ^ Menavino, 128. 

^ The cause of the execution of Junis Pasha by Selim I. Cf . Hammer, Geschichte, 
ii. 524. 

^ Halil Ganem, i. 169. 


not always have the heart to execute promptly; but in the end 
he had no alternative, so remorseless was the system. Even 
his best friend, Ibrahim, went too far and had to be removed. 
Two of his sons, the oldest and ablest, threatened the system 
in turn, and one after the other suffered the bow-string. Small 
wonder that Suleiman's soul was not filled with joy at the victory 
of Jerbe. " Those who saw Solyman's face in this hour of 
triumph," says Busbecq, " failed to detect in it the slightest 
trace of undue elation. I can myself positively declare, that when 
I saw him two days later on his way to the mosque, the expres- 
sion of his countenance was unchanged; his stern features had 
lost nothing of their habitual gloom; one would have thought 
that the victory concerned him not, and that this startling 
success of his arms had caused him no surprise. So self-contained 
was the heart of that grand old man, so schooled to meet each 
change of fortune however great, that all the applause and 
triumph of that day wrung from him no sign of satisfaction." ^ 
Arbiter of the destinies of so many men, compelled to be remorse- 
less as fate, Suleiman could allow joy no place in his soul. He 
who wielded as severe a rod as ever man held must maintain 
over himself the sternest discipline of all. 

^ Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 322. 


The Military Aspect 

The Ottoman government had been an army before it was 
anything else. Like the Turkish nations of the steppe lands, 
the Ottoman nation was " born of war and organized for con- 
quest." ^ Fighting was originally the first business of the state 
and governing the second. As time went on, and particularly 
after the capture of Constantinople, the necessity of administer- 
ing immense territories transferred the preponderance to the 
governmental aspect; but even in Suleiman's time the two great 
functions of the Ruling Institution were very closely united. 
War carried practically the whole government into the field. - 
Of course substitute officials had to be left behind to attend to 
what public business was absolutely necessary, but these were 
paralleled by, and indeed were usually identical with, the ofiicers 
and soldiers who had to be left behind to preserve pubhc order. 
So completely was the government an army, that the more 
important judges, who did not belong directly to the Ruhng 
Institution, were taken into the field. Suleiman on his last 
campaign had 48,316 men under pay.^ Acceptance of the sultan's 
pay by ordinary usage signified that the recipient was a kul} 
Evidently, then, almost the entire personnel of the Ruling 

^ Cahun, Introduction, li.wn: " Les Turcs et les Mongols . . . nees de la guerre 
et organisees pour la conquete." 

2 This was true even in D'Ohsson's time (vii. 399). 

3 Jiammer, Staatsverwaltung, 181. 

* Curiously enough, the oldest sense in which the Turkish word kid was used as a 
term denoting relation to a prince, was in reference to soldiers (Vambery, Uigiirische 
Sprachmonumente und das Kudatku Bilik, 113, stanza 12b). At that time the 
word was applied to the foot-soldiers as distinguished from the cavalry, who were 
then volunteer knights. This usage survived in the Ottoman system to the extent 
that the regular infantry, including the Janissaries, artillerymen, and other lesser 
permanent corps, were regarded as in a particular and special sense the sultan's 
kullar (D'Ohsson, vii. 328; Djevad Bey, i. 15-18). 



Institution, except the younger pages and the Ajem-oghlans 
who were as yet unfit, accompanied the master to war.^ In fact, 
army and government were one. War was the external purpose, 
government the internal purpose, of one institution, composed 
of one body of men. On the military side, this institution 
carried on war abroad, repressed revolt at home, kept itself in 
power, and preserved sufficient order in the empire to allow a 
busy and varied economic and social activity. On the govern- 
mental side, it supplied itself with funds, regulated its own work- 
ings, — which was no small task, — kept the operations of the 
other institutions of the empire in order, and enforced the law. 
The high officials of government held high command in war. 
The generals of the army had extensive administrative duties in 
regard to the affairs of the troops under them, the management 
of departments of state, or the government of provinces. 

The scope of the present treatise confines the discussion of 
the RuKng Institution as an army to those features which lie 
nearest the governmental aspect. The great majority of its 
members constituted the standing army of the empire, in the 
two great sections of Janissaries, or infantry, and Spahis of the 
Porte, or cavalry. Subordinate sections cared for the artillery 
and transport services, and for other necessary adjuncts to cam- 
paigning. Although the feudal SpaJiis did not receive pay from 
the sultan, and hence were not properly kullar, their officers 
were his slaves, even though many of them were supported 
during their term of service from fiefs. Besides these regular 
troops there were also attached to the Ottoman army certain 
irregular bodies of a lower order, — the Akinji, the Azabs, the 
Kurds, and so on. 

The Janissaries 2 

The body of regular infantry known as YenicJieri, or " new 
troops," a name which the West has changed to Janissaries, 

1 The Bostaujis, or gardeners, and other Ajem-oghlans of the palace service were 
not left behind: D'Ohsson, vii. 326; Djevad Bey, i. 7. 

* Extended accounts of the Janissaries may be found in D'Ohsson, vW. 310 fif.; 
Hammer, Slaatsverwaltung, 192 ff.; Zinkeisen, iii. 201 fif.; Djevad Bey, vol. i, 
book i. 


comes near to standing in the Western imagination for the 
sultan's entire slave-family. ^ In the sixteenth century, however, 
it formed not more than a fourth of the whole number; nor does 
its importance seem to have been beyond its numerical propor- 
tion, except in one or two respects. Since its members were 
physically trained beyond comparison with their intellectual 
education, since they were kept in poverty and hence were com- 
paratively irresponsible, and since a large portion of them were 
in comparative idleness in time of peace, they were liable to 
act as an organized and very dangerous mob. They might 
start a riot on short notice, or burn a section of the city in order 
to pillage the neighboring houses, or rifle the shops of the Jews, 
or plunder the grand vizier's establishment.^ They could not 
easily be restrained from plundering cities which had capitulated 
or from violating terms of surrender.^ They felt that the 
death of a sultan gave them an interregnum of Hcense before the 
accession of a new sovereign.^ They demanded donatives at 
the succession of a new ruler with such increasing rapacity as 
to embarrass the treasury;^ and they needed to be braced at 

^ For an example of the persistence of this idea, see Berard (1909), 12-13: 
" La Turquie desormais subsiste par le janissaire et doit vivre pour le janissaire 
d'abord. . . . depuis la prise de Rhodes (1522) jusqu'a I'apparition de la flotte 
russe aux Dardanelles (1770), tant vaut le janissaire et tant vaut I'empire." Pro- 
fessor A. C. Coolidge suggests that the hold which this remarkable organization 
had upon the imagination of fellow-countrymen as well as of foreigners was in part 
" due to the fact that in almost all Oriental history good infantr>'men have been 
extremely rare, and the Janissaries were the only good infantr>'men in the Ottoman 
Empire." It is also true that the Janissaries were that group within the Moslem 
fold which came least under the taming and subordinating influence of the system; 
they were a frontier province of Islamic society. "When in the seventeenth century 
they ceased to be drawn directly from the Christian population and became a 
variety of military aristocracy, not only did they remain in part a fighting infantry, 
but their original freedom of spirit and action was by no means abandoned. 

2 D'Ohsson, vii. 359-360; Hammer, Ceschichte, ii. 251, 361, iii. 45; Nicolay, 89. 

' Rhodes was pillaged after capitulation (1521), and so were Ofen (1529), and 
Wychegrad (1544) : Hammer, Ceschichte, iii. 28, 83, 263. 

* Ibid. ii. 252. Hence the death of a sultan was kept concealed until his 
successor had assumed power {ibid. 535; iii. 449). 

^ Mohammed II gave them ten purses of gold (1451), ibid. i. 504; Bayezid II 
gave them 2000 aspers each (1481), ibid. ii. 252; Selim I gave them 3000 aspers 
each (15 1 2), ibid. 382; from Suleiman they asked 5000 aspers each, which he 
compounded by giving them one-third in cash and increased pay (1520), ibid. iii. 6. 


critical moments by liberal presents.' In time of battle, however, 
they drew up an invincible line behind which the person of their 
sovereign was as safe as in an impregnable fortress. Their 
devotion to his person was the greater because they were in a 
special sense his kullar, and because he was one of them, being 
inscribed in one of their odas and receiving his pay regularly .^ 
In small groups on garrison duty their severe training seems to 
have made of them an efficient police.^ Yet their esprit de corps, 
resting on consciousness of power, made them feared at all times. 
They took an active part in determining the destinies of the 
empire in two ways, — by limiting conquests, and by influencing 
the succession to the throne.* They compelled the mighty 
Selim to turn back from both Persia and Egypt. ^ They mur- 
mured before Vienna, and without doubt hastened the raising 
of the siege.^ 

The Succession to the Throne 

The Janissaries had no small influence in determining the 
succession to the throne.^ There was no law fixing the succes- 
sion, since neither the Sheri nor the Kanuns provided for such 
things; ^ but it was a matter of fundamental custom that a prince 

^ Before Vienna (1529), ibid. 88; on march toward Persia (1534), ibid. 148; at 
Tabriz {iszs),ibid. 158. 

^ This usage dates from Suleiman; D'Ohsson, vii. 354. 

' Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 86: the Janissaries " are scattered through every 
part of the empire, either to garrison the forts against the enemy, or to protect 
the Christians and Jews from the violence of the mob. There is no district with any 
considerable amount of population, no borough or cit}', which has not a detachment 
of Janissaries to protect the Christians, Jews, and other helpless people from 
outrage and wrong." Janissaries might be detailed to attend on foreign ambassa- 
dors, or to escort foreign travelers within the empire (Knolles, ed. 1687, p. 9S5). 

* Nicolay, 89, was perhaps the first to point out the likeness of the Janissaries 
to the Roman Pretorian Guard, and to see in them a great danger to the Ottoman 

^ Hammer, GeschiclUc, ii. 420, 520. 

8 7^)/^. iii. 88. 

' Trevisano, 129, says that they had sufficient authority on the death of a 
sultan to give the empire to which of his sons they pleased. Cf. J. Soranzo, 248; 
Morosini, 255; Garzoni, 432; Knolles (ed. 1687), 9S5 (" neither can any of 
the Turks Sultans account themselves fully invested in the Imperial Dignity, 
or assured of their Estate, until they be by them approved and proclaimed "). 

* D'Ohsson, i. 278-284; Heidborn, 120. 


of the house of Osman should rule, and it was almost as funda- 
mental that a son of a sultan should succeed him. Not until 
1617 was the present rule established, by which the oldest male 
of the royal house is heir apparent.^ Before that, when a sultan 
had several sons, the eldest had no inherent right to succeed, 
as is the practice in Western Europe. The Turkish father 
naturally desired to choose which of his sons should follow him; 
and to this end, when he gave them provincial governments, he 
often placed the favorite nearest the capital. After Mohammed 
II had issued his famous Kanun, by which the son who reached 
the throne was legally authorized to execute his brothers,- a 
situation of unstable equilibrium arose as soon as the sons of a 
sultan began to grow up. Each knew that he must either 
obtain the throne or die soon after his father; hence revolt was 
almost forced upon a son who found himself placed farther from 
the capital than a favored brother. When Bayezid II grew old 
and feeble, his active and warlike son Selim opposed his wish 
to leave the empire to Achmet; ^ in the end SeHm triumphed, 
and Bayezid, forced to abdicate, met a death that was believed 
by many not to have been natural.* The Janissaries turned 
the scale in this struggle, and henceforth they were felt to be a 
dangerous element whenever a sultan came to have more than 
one growTi son. They had a great part in the death of both 
Mustapha and Bayezid, the ablest sons of Suleiman; indeed, 
their sympathy for the former was undoubtedly a chief reason 
in determining Suleiman to execute him, since only thus could 
his own safety be assured.^ In the case of Bayezid, the fact 
that the Janissaries did not support him spelled his doom, even 
though his father, beyond all precedent, pardoned his first revolt, 

^ D'Ohsson, i. 284. This rule is sometimes stated erroneously as an old Turkish 
custom, a provision of Mohammedan law, or an old Ottoman law or custom. 

2 Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 98: " Kanun of the Security of the Throne: The 
majority of Legists (Ulema) have declared it allowable, that whoever among 
my illustrious children and grandchildren may come to the throne, should, for 
securing the peace of the world, order his brothers to be executed. Let them 
hereafter act accordingly." 

^ Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 352 flf. 

^ Menavino, 219; Trevisano, 129; Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 365. 

^ Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 314. 


and though the influence of his mother Roxelana was strong in 
his favor,^ Speculation is dangerous; but the Janissaries may 
have done Western Europe a great service on these occasions. 
Had either Mustapha or Bayezid come to the throne instead 
of the drunken and dissolute Selim II, the issue of Lepanto 
might have been difi'erent, a new expedition against Vienna led 
by a vigorous and idohzed young monarch might have suc- 
ceeded, the Ottoman power might have ruled more widely and 
permanently than it did, and the decay of the Ruling Institu- 
tion might have been long postponed.^ 

The Janissaries in Suleiman's time numbered between twelve 
and fourteen thousand ; ^ and this number probably did not 
include the garrison which supported the power of the empire 
in Egypt,^ still less that which upheld the corsair rule in North 
Africa. Except in time of war many of the Janissaries were dis- 
tributed in garrisons, so that probably not more than half resided 
in the capital.^ Such of these as were married lived at home, and 
the others were lodged in two great barracks.^ They were organ- 
ized in messes of ten; ten messes constituted an orta or oda, of 

1 Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 185-189. 

^ Postel, iii. 87, says, about 1537: Suleiman " has among others a son named 
Mustapha, marvelously well educated and prudent and of the age to reign; for 
he is 23 or 24 years old; and God grant that so great an atrocity may not come 
so near us {Dieii ne permette qu'tote Barbarie si grande vienne si pres dc ftous)." 

' 10,000 is the number according to Bragadino, 106. 12,000 is given by almost 
all contemporaries: Ramberti, below, p. 249; Junis Bey, below, p. 266; Giovio, 
Commenlarius, y6; Geuffroy, 234; Navagero, 53; Trevisano, 128; Barbaro, 305; 
Postel, iii. 30; Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 86; Nicolay, 88; Erizzo, 127. Nava- 
gero, 56, says some think that 15,500 or 16,000 were inscribed; and Garzoni, 
416, says that there were 13,000 or 14,000. Djevad Bey, i. 90, gives 12,000 in 
1523, and 13,599 ii^ i574- I" 1564 D. Barbarigo, 33, gives a precise number, 
13,502. D'Ohsson, vii. 330, says, without stating any authority and against the 
above contemporary evidence, that Suleiman raised the number to 40,000. Ham- 
mer {Geschichte, i. 95, and iii. 473) says, referring to D'Ohsson, that Suleiman had 
20,000; hut inhi?, Staatsverwaltung, 195, he stales that Suleiman had only 12,000 
before Szigets. Knollcs (ed. 1687, p. 990) says, about 1603, that the Janissaries 
numbered not over 12,000 to 14,000. 

* Junis Bey, 272, and Ludovisi, 17, give the number of this garrison as 3000. 
Postel, 38, gives the number as 30,000; this must include the Mamelukes. 

* Giovio, Commoitarius, 77: about 6000 of the older of them stay about the 
Prince. Navagero, 55: 8000 to 10,000 are always ready. 

6 Ramberti, 249; Junis Bey, 267. 


which there were one hundred and sixty-five in Suleiman's time.^ 
Each orta had its ofiEicers, who had been promoted from its ranks; 
and above all the ortas was a graded set of officers, under the 
Agha, or general, of the Janissaries.^ This official had never 
been a Janissary, but had come through the colleges of pages.^ 
He not merely commanded the Janissaries, but was a sort of 
minister of war for them. Aided by his Kiaya, or lieutenant,* 
his chief Yaziji, or scribe, and a bureau of clerks, he directed 
their enrolment, the distribution of their pay, their promotions, 
their location, the purchase of their supplies and clothing, and 
all the other business of the corps. He was well paid and was 
of great authority, outranking all other generals, though on 
some occasions he was obliged to yield precedence to two of 
the generals of cavalry, whose corps were older than those of 
the Janissaries.^ 

The Janissaries had a regular ladder of promotion through 
the offices of their odas and above, as far as the position of 
Segban-bashi, which was the office next below that of Agha.^ 
One hundred and fifty of their best bowmen were honored by 
being detailed to accompany the sultan on the march, as his 
SolaksJ They might also for distinguished abihty or service 
be taken into the regular cavalry, and have all its opportunities 
open to them. No less than the rest of the army, they kept 

^ Hammer, Slaatsverwaltiing, 194; Ricaut, 365 (mentions 162 odalar); Djevad 
Bey, i. 28. In Chalcocondyles's time (1465), 97, the strength of each oda seems to 
have been of 50 men. In Suleiman's time it was less than 100. Later it became 
much larger. 

^ Nicolay, 96-97; D'Ohsson, vii. 313-320; Hammer, StaatsverwaUiing, 201 ff.; 
Djevad Bey, i. 35, 45. 

* D'Ohsson, vii. 314; Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 428. This was the case only from 
1515 to 1582. 

* Kiaya is a word which offered infinite difficulties of pronunciation and spell- 
ing; for example, gachaia, cacaia, checaya, quaia, queaya, caia, cahaia, chiccaia, 
chechessi. Some authors employ a different spelling each time they use the word. 
Trevisano, 118, gives chietcudasci. Kiaya represents the popular pronuncia- 
tion. The more nearly correct form of the word, following the Turkish spelling, 
is kelkhuda. 

* D'Ohsson, vii. 353. 
^ Djevad Bey, i. 35. 

' Ramberti, below, p. 250; Junis Bey, below, p. 266. 


marvellous order in camp, and, except at the crises above de- 
scribed, were completely obedient to their officers. ' They were 
punishable only by their own officers, not even the grand vizier 
having direct jurisdiction over them.^ They had a strong sense 
of maintaining their privileges and what they considered to be 
their rights. Busbecq, who gives illumination at so many 
points, shows how the grand vizier Rustem, and even Suleiman 
himself, felt toward these men when they were all together and 
their blood was hot. On one occasion Busbecq's servants 
quarreled with some Janissaries, and he was disposed to back 
his men up; whereupon Rustem sent a trusty messenger to 
him with a verbal message, asking him " to remove every cause 
of offence which might occasion a quarrel with those atrocious 
scoundrels. Was I not aware," he asked, " that it was war 
time, when they were masters, so that not even Solyman him- 
self had control over them, and was actually himself afraid of 
receiving violence at their hands ? " ^ Great care had to be 
taken to keep the Janissaries under control, for they were capable 
of wrecking the whole government. They were, to be sure, 
constantly drained of their ablest men by promotion; but this 
only left the others the more liable, like sheep, to follow a new 
leader into evil. They could be repressed more or less by pun- 
ishment: now and then an especially active promoter of trouble 
was executed ; "* officers who offended were sometimes sent to 
command distant garrisons, and sometimes they were stricken 
from the roll.^ Suleiman succeeded, on the whole, in keeping 
the Janissaries in hand, and he was able to lead them farther 
east than could his father Selim. They never revolted against 
him,® and they supported him against Bayezid. 

1 Ludovisi (1534), 9, gives a pessimistic account of them; according to him, 
they had not the order or the discipline or the astuteness which was found in the 
Christian infantry. Postel, iii. 30, praises them greatly for order, frugality, and 
temperance. Djevad Bey, i. 56-64, gives a favorable description; he says (p. 56) 
that the first of their fundamental laws enjoined absolute obedience. 

2 Postel, iii. 31; D'Ohsson, vii. 353; Djevad Bey, i. 66, 69. 
' Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 296. 

* D'Ohsson, vii. 351; Djevad Bey, i. 56-59. 

' Ramberti, below, p. 249; Junis Bey, below, p. 267; D'Ohsson, vii. 352. 

• Djevad Bey, i. 289. 


The Spahis of the Porte ^ 

The regular cavalry were all included under the general name 
of Spahis, or horsemen; but the name was also applied to one 
of the four divisions into which Osman's corps of daring riders 
had been organized after the model of the cavalry of the caliph 
Omar I.^ Their organization was older than that of the Janis- 
saries; it had come down continuously from the early days.^ 
The members were not organized into a single body, they had 
high pay, and they were in the presence of excellent opportuni- 
ties to acquire wealth and to rise with rapidity. Accordingly, 
they appear never to have caused Suleiman any special trouble.^ 

The four corps were the Spahis in the narrower sense, often 
called Spahi-Oghlans; the Silihdars, or weapon-bearers; the 
Ulufajis, or paid troops, in two divisions, the left and the right-, 
and the Ghurebas, or Foreign Legion, also in two divisions, the 
left and the right.^ The Spahis were most honored and best 
paid, but each had to bring with him to war five or six armed 
slaves on horseback. The Silihdars had less pay and furnished 
four or five horsemen. The Ulufajis furnished two or three 
horsemen each.^ These three corps were recruited from the 
pages and the Janissaries, the Ulufajis receiving also occasional 
members by special promotions from the irregular troops.'' 
The Foreign Legion had least pay of all, and its members came 
alone; not having begun as the sultan's kullar, and often not 

^ This name for the sultan's paid cavalry is that regularly employed by the 
Venetian writers of the sixteenth century: for example, Moro, 337; Bernardo, 330. 
2 Hammer, Geschichte, i. 95. 
^ D'Ohsson, vii. 353. 

* For the great disturbance which they raised in 1593, see Zinkeisen, iii. 79. 
5 All of these names are spelled with an ingenious variety in contemporary 

writings: — 

Spahi: spai, spachi, sipahi, sipah, spacoillain (spahi-oghlan). 

Silihdar: selicter, sillictar, sulastrus, suluphtar. 

Ulnfagi: holofagi, allophase. 

Ghureba: caripy, caripicus, ciarcagi, caripp (oglan) , gharib (oglan), capi (oglan) 

The word Spahi is of identical derivation with Sepoy. 

* Ramberti, below, p. 250; Junis Bey, below, p. 267; Postel, iii. 34. Giovio 
{Commentarius, 75) says that some Spahis brought as many as ten horsemen. 

^ Giovio, 75; Postel, iii. 35. 

TUE AmiY 99 

even as Ottomans, they enjoyed small honor.^ Each of the 
first two corps, and each division of the last two corps of the 
Spahis of the Porte, was organized separately after the fashion 
of the Janissaries, with its own general, who supervised the 
administration of all its affairs.^ The number of the Spahis 
of the Porte is given on two bases. In Suleiman's time the actual 
members of the four corps counted from ten to twelve thousand 
men, or a little less than the number of the Janissaries; ^ but, 
since most of them had each to bring from two to six additional 
horsemen, the total force which they assembled was from forty 
to fifty thousand.'* Whether the entire number or only the actual 
members were regularly considered to be the sultan's kullar, 

' They were called " poor youth " by Menavino, 152; Junis Bey, 267; Ram- 
bcrti, 251; Trevisano, 126; Postel, iii. 36. Spandugino, 97, says that they were 
strangers from Asia, Egypt, and Africa. Giovio, 76, says that they were all 
Moslems from Persia, Turcomania, Syria, Africa, Arabia, Scythia, and even India; 
but he is wrong in confining them to Moslems in the sixteenth century. Trevi- 
sano, 126, asserts that they were renegades from every nation; and on this 
authority Zinkeisen falls into the opposite error of confining them to Christian 
renegades. Postel, iii. 36, says that they were chosen from the Akinjl, Kurds, 
and Azabs. Menavino, 152, declares that they were not slaves of the great Turk, 
but that part were Turks, part Christian renegades, and part Arabs (Mori). 

2 The Spaltis of the Porte are discussed at length in D'Ohsson, vii. 364 ff.; 
Hammer, Slaatsvcrwaltung, 237 ff.; Zinkeisen, iii. 168 fT. 

* Giovio {Cojnmentarius, 75) mentions 2000 in each of the first two corps, 
and 1000 in each of the second two. Junis Bey (below, p. 267) puts 3000 in each 
of the first two corps, 2000 in each of the second two. Ramberti (below, p. 250) 
gives more than 3000 Spahi-oghlans, 3000 SUihdars, and 2000 in each of the other 
corps. Ludovisi, 15, puts 3000 in each of the first two, 2500 in the third, and 
2000 in the fourth. Trevisano, 125, puts 2000 in each but the fourth, which 
contained 1500. D. Barbarigo, ^^, mentions 7095 Spahis. Barbaro, 304, says 
that there were 15,000 Spahis of the Porte. There were under pay in 1660, 
after serious changes, 7203 Spahis, 6254 SUihdars, 976 Ulufajis, and 722 Ghurebas: 
Hammer, Staalsveruvltimg, 175. 

* A calculation based on Junis Bey's statements gives a total of between 41,000 
and 40,000. Garzoni, 413, says distinctly that there were 40,000 Spahis of the 
Porte paid out of the sultan's treasury; that among these were 3000 Spahi-oghlans, 
3000 SUihdars, 3000 Ulufajis, and 2000 Ghurebas (ciarcagi); and that the grand 
vizier had 1000 Spahis assigned to his retinue, and the other viziers each 500. 
D'Ohsson, vii. 364-365, states that the Spahis proper in the time of Moham- 
med II, numbered 10,000, and that .Achmet III, raised their strength to 12,000; 
like figures for the Silihdars were 8000 and 12,000. This estimate must include 
the additional horsemen. 


under his pay, does not appear clearly. Probably he did not 
pay the additional horsemen directly; for strictly speaking, they 
were kullar of his kullar. In time of battle all the regular troops, 
Spahis and Janissaries aUke, were drawn up to protect the sultan, 
the Janissaries being aligned in front, the Spahis proper on the 
right, the Silihdars on the left, and the Ulujajis and Ghurehas 
in the rear.^ 

The Feudal Spahis ^ 

Outside the towns the greater part of the European dominions 
of the sultan, and a large part of Asia Minor, were granted in 
fief to Moslems who were for the most part not kullar of the 
sultan. 3 They deserve to be considered in a discussion of the 
government, however, not only because they collected the 
revenues and exercised seigniorial jurisdiction in their estates,^ 
but also because they were ofl&cered by the sultan's kullar. 
The estates were of different sizes and were reckoned in three 
classes: timars, when the yearly revenue was under twenty 
thousand aspers; ziamets, when it was twenty thousand to one 
hundred thousand aspers; khasses, when it was over one hundred 

' Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 57; Menavino, 148, 151. 

2 See above, pp. 47 (note i), 91. The Ottoman feudal sj'stem is discussed at 
length in Hammer, Staatsverfassttng, 337 ff.; D'Ohsson, vii. 372 ff.; Zinkeisen, iii. 
145 ff.; Belin, Du Regime des Fiefs Militaires en Turquie; Tischendorf, Mos- 
lemisches Lehnswesen. 

3 Junis Bey (below, p. 271) says, shortly after describing the feudal Spahis of 
Europe, that " all the Spahis are slaves and sons of slaves of the Seigneur (Tutti 
It spachi sono schiaiii b° fgli de schiaiii del Sig[nor\);'^ but this statement is 
incomplete. Ramberti (below, p. 256) adds, " and sons of Spahis." The latter 
group undoubtedly contained the great majority of the feudal Spahis. Geuffroy 
246, enlarges on the statement by saying that the 30,000 feudal Spahis of Europe 
were all Ajem-oghlans and slaves of the great Turk. Xo other writer terms them 
kullar. Garzoni, 412, calls them Turkish soldiers. The whole theory of the 
Ottoman feudal system made them such; the smaller fiefs were hereditary from of 
old, and gaps were filled from volunteers with the army, who must have been 
Moslems, since Christians were not allowed to bear arms: Hammer, Staatsver- 
fassung, 349 ff. (" Kanun-nameh of the granting of Timars and Ziamets ")■ 

* Junis Bey, p. 271 (they collect the income from the Christians, etc.); Moro, 
339 (they are appointed by the king to administer justice); Hammer, Ge- 
schichte, iii. 478; D'Ohsson, vii. 373. Heidborn, 157, discusses their duties in 
some detail. 


thousand aspers.^ Timars might be united into a ziamet, but 

ziamels could not be divided.- Every fief-holder must appear 

in person when summoned to war. If the annual income of a 

Timarji, or Timariote, reached six thousand aspers, he must 

bring with him an armed horseman; and he must bring another 

for each additional three thousand aspers of his revenue. The 

holder of a larger fief must bring with him an armed horseman 

if his income amounted to ten thousand aspers, and another 

horseman for each additional five thousand aspers of income.^ 

In the sixteenth century this service was strictly exacted, and the 

fief-holders were held to residence on their estates. The principle 

of heredity entered into the distribution of these estates, but 

under limitations. One son of the holder of a small fief had a 

right to the fief;'* not more than three sons of the holder of a 

large fief were entitled to small fiefs.^ The sons of kiillar in 

high position might receive fiefs large in proportion to the rank 

of their father;^ by this means they were honorably conveyed 

from the ruling Institution into the Moslem population. The 

Zaims and Timariotes, as the holders of the corresponding fiefs 

were named, were a class of country gentlemen, honest, sober, 

true to the Moslem faith and to the sultan, better in morals than 

the kullar if not so able of intellect, the substantial middle class 

of the empire, ancestors of those who today give hope that 

Turkey may become a modern nation. It was these who gave 

the first training to the Ajem-oghlans, starting them well on the 

road from Christianity to Islam, and preparing them to become 

members of the Ottoman nation. 

* Hammer, Staatsverwaltung, 275; Heidborn, 145, 
2 Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 476. 

' Spandugino, 146, states that under Mohammed II, each fief-holder who had 
5000 aspers of income was obliged to bring another with him to war; but in his 
time (under Bayezid II) this obligation was imposed upon those who had 3000 
aspers, unless retired on account of age. Rambcrti and Junis Bey (below, pp. 256- 
271) say that for each 100 ducats a Spahi must keep an armed horseman, and 
three or four servants, and a like number of hurses; see also D'Ohsson, vii. 373. 
Heidborn, 145, states that holders of timars brought an additional warrior for 
each 3000 aspers of income, and holders of ziamels an additional one for each 5000 
aspers; but in any case the first 3000 aspers was exempt. 

* D'Ohsson, vii. 374. 

5 Hammer, Slaaisvcrfassufig, 352. • Ibid. 94. 


In the time of Suleiman the system of fiefs had become greatly 
disarranged. 1 The distribution of them had been left to the 
local governors, and corruption had crept in; the frequent 
wars also had led to rapid changes and consequent confusion. 
Moreover, the army always contained a large number of Gon- 
nullu, or volunteers, who came at their own expense, and fought 
with the hope, often realized, of receiving the fiefs of slain men 
as the reward of signally brave conduct.^ It is said that during 
the course of a single bloody day one fief changed owners seven 
times. If fiefs might thus be granted in the midst of battle, 
it is not easy to see how a condition of reasonable order could 
have been preserved in the feudal system. Suleiman, therefore, 
by a Kanun of the year 1530, attached the granting of all fiefs 
above a certain size once more to the central government.^ 
Each holder of such a fief must obtain a teskereh, or document, 
from Constantinople, in order to have good title.^ The central 
treasury administered such estates during vacancies. Only 
those fief-holders who held by teskereh were entitled to be called 
Spahis;^ the others were known as Timarjis, or Timariotes. 
The feudal Spahis of Anatolia were more under the authority 
of the governor than were those of Europe; they were not so well 
paid, did not have so much practice in fighting, and were not so 
highly esteemed as soldiers.^ 

Thus the country gentry were kept under good control; the 
accumulation of estates was prevented, any tendency toward 
independence could easily be thwarted, and the sultan obtained 
regularly the service for which the lands were granted. In 
addition, most of the subject Christian population was governed 
locally without any trouble to the sultan, and was held down 
well and uniformly by resident seigneurs. A great advantage 

^ Hammer {ibid. 143 ff.) describes Suleiman's legislation, giving translations 
of much of it. 

2 Ricaut, 343- 

' D'Ohsson, vii. 374; Hammer, Staalsverfassung, 352 ff. 

^ The limit differed according to region. In Rumelia a teskereh was required 
for all timars of 6000 aspers and over, and for all ziamets: Hammer, Staalsverwal- 
tung, 275. 

^ Ramberti (below, p. 256) gives this limit as 100 ducats, or 5000 aspers. 

8 Garzoni, 413; Tanco, 209. 


of the system was that, by the granting of new fiefs in newly- 
conquered lands, the territorial army was automatically increased 
in proportion to the increase of the empire.' 

Officers of the Feudal Spahis 

Local government and the command of the feudal Spahis 
was cared for by officials who belonged to the sultan's great 
slave-family, and who brought with them to their posts a number, 
proportioned to their rank, of Spahis of the Porte, pages, Ajem- 
oghlans, and slaves of their own. The lowest of these officers 
were the Subashis, or captains, who were in time of peace gover- 
nors of towns, with enough Janissaries and Azabs, or irregular 
infantry, to police the locality.^ Next above these were the 
Alai Beys, or colonels, who in time of peace were ready with a 
company of from two hundred to five hundred troops to pass 
from place to place as there might be need.^ Above these again 
were the Sanjak Beys, who governed important cities and held 
superior rule over a number of towns and the district in which 
they lay/ Finally, in the Balkan Peninsula and in Western 
Asia Minor there was from of old a Beylerbey, who had authority 
over all the Beys of his region. Incomes were provided by the 
assignment of fiefs proportioned in size to each officer's impor- 
tance.^ All of these officers of local government had a sufficient 
staff of lieutenants, treasurers, book-keepers and clerks.^ The 
Beylerbey of Rumelia resided in time of peace at Constantinople. 
The Beylerbey of Anatolia seems to have spent much time in his 

^ Bernardo, 329; KnoUes (ed. 1687), 983. 

2 Spandugino, 211; Zinkeiscn, iii. 129. The feudal Spain's had lower officers 
who were not sent out from the capital, such as the Cheri-bashis. 

' The name means " ensign bey," and was translated flambole: for example, 
Geuffroy, 246. 

* Postcl, iii. 44; Ticpolo, 138. 

* Heidborn, 140, says that the Subashis had ziamets, the Alai Beys had small 
khasses, the Sanjak Beys had khasses of a million aspers or more, and the Beylerbeys 
much more. The amount which he assigns to the Sanjak Beys is too large for 
Suleiman's time. Ramberti (below, pp. 250-258) gives their income at from 
4000 to 12,000 ducats, which would amount to from 200,000 to 600,000 aspers. 

6 Ramberti, below, p. 256; Junis Bey, below, p. 271. 


dominions/ though undoubtedly he was often at the capital, 
since he had his regular place in the Divan. 

In time of war this official scheme, detached from its function 
of local government, drew together the feudal Spahis, section 
by section, into a perfectly organized territorial army for each 
of the two regions. Notice of time and place was sent round, 
and within a month every man called had joined his proper 
standard.2 After uniting with the sultan's regular army, the 
army of Rumelia under its Beylerbey had the right of the battle- 
line when fighting in Europe, and the army of Anatolia under 
its Beylerbey had the right of the line when fighting in Asia.^ 
The enrolled feudal troops of Europe numbered about fifty 
thousand, and those of Asia, including Anatolia, Karamania, 
Amasia, and Avandole, thirty thousand.^ In each case the 
number should be doubled or tripled to allow for the additional 
horsemen which all the Spahis were required to bring.^ On the 
other hand, a considerable proportion of the feudal troops, 

1 Menavino, i86, igo, says that in his time the Beylerbey of Anatolia resided 
at Kutaia (Custage). Ramberti, 259, mentions the same place (Chiothachie) as 
the seat of his sanjakate. Knolles (ed. i6S7,p. 986) says that all the Beylerbeys 
except the Beylerbey of Rumelia were supposed to reside within their dominions. 

2 Tractakis, ch. xi. ^ Trevisano, 132. 

^ In Europe 30,000 Spahis and 20,000 Timarjis; in Anatolia 12,000 Spahis; 
in Karamania 7000, Amasia 4000, and Avandole 7000. This is the estimate of 
Junis Bey and Ramberti, which Geuffroy, 247, follows, and which Postel, iii. 
37 ff., changes a little (Karamania 5000 instead of 7000, Amasia omitted). 
Ludovisi, 16, gives practically the same figures. Navagero, 41, gives 40,000 
in Europe and 80,000 to 100,000 in Asia, the latter figure probably including the 
troops of Syria and Mesopotamia, and of Egypt, which was not provided with fiefs 
in the same way. Barbaro, 304, and Garzoni, 412, mention 80,000 in Europe 
and 50,000 in Asia. D. Barbarigo (1558), 33, speaks of a sum total of 160,000 
feudal Spahis. Tiepolo (1576), 140, speaks of 60,000 timars in Europe which sent 
80,000 Spahis, and 50,000 Spahis from Asia. The number may have increased 
about one-half during Suleiman's regin, but it is more likely that all the groups of 
figures are only estimates. Ricaut, 341, after careful inquiry, gives the number 
of Zaims in his time as 10,948, and of Timarjis as 72,436, for the whole empire 
except Egypt. He thinks that this estimate should be increased to 100,000. The 
total feudal contingent in the time of Achmet I, was by Turkish authority about 
the same (Tischendorf, 57 ff.). D'Ohsson, vii. 375, estimates the feudal troops 
at 200,000 in Suleiman's time; on p. 381, however, he speaks of more than 150,000 
men. See below, p. 107, n. i. 

^ Postel, iii. 38 (" triple pour le moins ")• 


sometimes estimated at one-half/ remained on duty at home 
in time of war to protect the provinces and prevent uprisings. 
The feudal troops, while brave, eager, and regardless of their 
lives, had not the physical strength nor the practice of fighting 
in squadrons which the regular troops had, and hence were not 
their equals. 

The Beylerbeys of Rumeha and Anatolia were called out with 
their troops for every campaign. The eight other Beylerbeys 
of Suleiman's time, — those of Karamania, Amasia, Avandole, 
Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Hungary ,2 and Temesvar,^ — 
who had fewer feudal troops at command and more need of them 
at home, were summoned only when the war was in their region. 

Other Bodies of Troops 

There were three principal bodies of irregular troops, the 
Akinji or cavalry, the Azahs or infantry, and the Kurds; besides 
various smaller groups, such as the descendants of the ancient 
corps of Yayas and Mosellems, who held fiefs of a sort in the 
oldest sanjaks of the empire, and the Deli or " crazy " company 
of scouts."* The Akinji numbered perhaps thirty thousand in 
time of peace and were mainly near the European frontier, where 
they made a living by raiding. They received no pay either in 
peace or in war, but gathered booty and slaves and hoped for 
promotion.^ The Azahs numbered perhaps ten thousand in 

1 Chesneau, 46; D'Ohsson, vii. 381. KnoUes (ed. 1687, p. 990) says that not 
over one-third could safely be called to arms. 

2 After the year 1541: Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 232. 

3 After the year 1552: Trevisano, 124. The number of the Beylerbeys was 
greatly increased in the last third of the sixteenth century. KnoUes, 9S6-988, 
mentions live in Europe, 30 in Asia, and 4 in Africa, besides the Bcylerbcy of the 
Sea, whose office was created by Suleiman, but who is not mentioned above as having 
no part in the army. 

^ Spandugino, 153; Nicoiay, 160. 

^ The name akinji is variously spelled: yachinji, alcanzi, alcangi, aconiziae, 
alengi, aquangi, achiar, aghiar. Spandugino, 150, says that the sultan can collect 
200,000 of these for the war; Rambcrti and Junis Bey (below, pp. 257, 271) men- 
tion 60,000 as inscribed; Giovio {CommcnUiriits, 81) names 30,000; Garzoni, 414, 
says 25,000 or 30,000; Postel, iii. 26, says 50,000 or 60,000. Ramberti, 271, tells 
us that when in arms they were entitled to living expenses from the villages near 
which they passed. 


peace and forty thousand in war.^ Some of them sensed in the 
garrisons and some with the fleet.- The number of the Akinjis 
and Azahs was greatly augmented in time of war by the addition 
of volunteers, many of whom were criminals and rufiians.^ 
The irregular troops were the terror of the invaded lands in war 
time; for the regular army was held under iron discipline, but 
these irresponsible creatures carried fire, rapine, and sword over 
wide areas of country. In time of siege and battle the Azahs 
were sent forward to break the charge of the enemy, or to aid in 
filling the moats by their own bodies.^ Such as lived were 
rewarded generously; the rest were believed to pass at once by 
a martyr's death to heavenly reward.^ The Kurds lay near the 
Persian frontier to the number of about thirty thousand. Indi- 
viduals among the Akinji, Azahs, and Kurds might hope to 
become gentlemen through distinguished bravery, by being made 
Ulufajis among the Spahis of the Porte.^ 

Attached to the regular army there were also various auxil- 
iary corps of armorers, cannoneers, men of transport service, 
musicians, commissaries, and the Hke, to the number of three 
or four thousand in all.^ The Tartars of the Crimea, and the 
Moldavians and Wallachians, were also obhged to furnish con- 
tingents.^ All told, the enrolled strength of the entire army 
was something more or less than two hundred thousand men. 
But, since the Spahis were required to bring other fighting men 
with them in proportion to their revenues, since numerous slaves 
and private servants accompanied the soldiers, and since the 
feudal and irregular troops were joined by great numbers of 
volunteers, both horse and foot, high and low, the complete 

1 Zinkeisen, iii. 203. 

2 Spandugino, 152. Junis Bey, 270, mentions 1000 with the fleet, and Postel, 
iii. 71, mentions 10,000. 

* Postel, iii. 26. 

* Chalcocondyles, 135; Giovio, Commentarius , 81, etc. 
^ Spandugino, 151. 

6 See above, p. 98. 

' Junis Bey, below, p. 268. In addition were several thousand saddlers, etc., 
who were not reckoned as regular troops: the Bostanjis, older pages, body-guards, 

8 KnoUes (ed. 1687), 984. 


army for the greatest expeditions probably numbered about 
three hundred thousand men.' At the close of Suleiman's 
reign the paid nucleus was about fifty thousand strong; the 
feudal Spahis for a European campaign numbered about 
sixty thousand, with perhaps a like number of helpers. The 
remaining troops were of no great value in battle, unless to 
break the first shock of the enemy's charge. They served 
chiefly to lay waste the hostile country and to gather booty and 

' Several contemporary estimates of the complete army may be compared: 
Marini Sanuto, under date of October 26, 1529, gives an estimate of the Turkish 
army then before Vienna as containing 305,200 men. The same writer {Diarii, 
Ivi) gives three or four estimates from the year 1532, when Suleiman went forth 
on the Giins campaign: on p. 768, Suleiman's army is said to contain 500,000 
men; on p. 870 is found an account of Suleiman's entry into Belgrade, in which 
170,300 men are mentioned, besides " adventurers " and " many others "; on the 
same page is estimated the number with which the Sultan was to leave Belgrade, 
which sums up 284,500, and does not seem to account fully for the territorial armies; 
on p. 894 he summarizes a despatch from Ratisbon, dated August 23, 1532, which 
relates the testimony of three Turkish prisoners to the effect that the Turkish army 
numbers over 300,000 persons, but that not over 80,000 are good fighting men. 
Postel, iii. 38, estimates the enrolled army at 218,000, and the whole at 500,000. 
He states elsewhere that Suleiman took 500,000 men with him on the Persian 
expedition of 1534-35. Chesneau's impression (pp. 106-108) of Suleiman's army, 
when he saw it near Aleppo in the spring of 1549, was that it occupied 80,000 
to 100,000 tents, on a plain eight to ten miles long; that it contained 300,000 to 
400,000 fighting men, of whom all but 10,000 or 12,000 Janissaries were on horse- 
back; and that the total number of persons assembled was about a million. Ches- 
neau's chief, the ambassador D'Aramont, writing concerning the same expedition 
from Esdron (Erzerum ?) a few weeks later, speaks of " the mass of his (Suleiman's) 
army, which is by common estimate of 300,000 men, as may be Judged from the 
extent of the camp, which extends ten or twelve miles in length, and contains at 
least 60,000 tents or more, with such order and obedience that, considering the 
great multitude, it is almost unbelievable " (Charriere, ii. 68). In the year 1558, 
A. Barharigo, 150-151, estimated the cavalry alone at more than 300,000. 
Twenty-six years after Suleiman's death Bernardo, 331, says that the paid troops, 
in which he includes the sultan's household and the feudal army, amounted to 
250,000 men. Zinkeisen, iii. 199, estimates the extreme total of the sultan's 
cavalry alone at 565,000. Knolles (ed. 1687, p. 984), writing about 1603, says that 
the sultan could always gather 150,000 Timariotcs for a great expedition. He 
says that the Timariotes numbered in all 719,000 fighting men, of whom 257,000 
were in Europe and 426,000 in Asia. The last two estimates are incredibly 


Discipline and Ardor 

Contemporary observers were strongly impressed with the 
wonderful discipline and intense zeal for fighting that was seen 
among the Turks. The silence, order, and cleanliness of the 
camps, the absolute obedience, enforced if need be by severe 
punishments and executions, the submissiveness to long marches, 
hard labor, and scanty food, the eagerness for battle, the joy 
in conflict, the recklessness of life, presented a perfection of 
discipline, self-control, and single-hearted purpose that seemed 
miraculous. A few of the many witnesses may be heard briefly: 

" The Turks come together for war as though they had been 
invited to a wedding." ^ 

" The Great Turk is the best obeyed by his subjects of all the 
lords that I know." 2 

" I think there is no prince in all the world who has his armies 
and camps in better order, both as regards the abundance of 
victuals and of all other necessities which are usually provided, 
and as regards the beautiful order and manner they use, in en- 
camping without any confusion or embarrassment." ' 

" Their military discipline has such justice and severity as 
easily to surpass the ancient Greeks and Romans; the Turks 
surpass our soldiers for three reasons: they obey their com- 
manders promptly; they never show the least concern for their 
lives in battle; they can live a long time without bread and wine, 
content with barley and water." * 

" Peace and silence reign in a Turkish camp. . . . Such is 
the result produced by military disciphne, and the stern laws 
bequeathed them by their ancestors." ^ 

" It is marvellous how the force and rigor of justice increase 
in war. ... If the soldiers rob or beat, the head comes off, 
or they are so beaten that they can never be well again." ^ 

^ Tradalus, ch. xi, marginal summary. 
2 La Broquiere, 273. 
^ Chalcocondyles, 135. 
* Giovio, Commentarius, 83 (condensed). 

^ Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 293; on p. 221 he compares Turkish and 
Western soldiers most unfavorably for the latter. 

^ Postel, i. 126; see also Dandolo, 166. Georgevitz, 45, says that he accom- 


" They keep the divinest order in the world." ^ 
" In truth the disciphne could not be better, nor the obedience 
greater." ^ 

" For such as are acquainted with the Histories of the Turkish 
affaires, and doe aduisedly looke into the order and course of 
their proceedinges: doe well perceiue, that the chief est cause 
of their sodaine and fearefull puissaunce, hath beene the excel- 
lencie of their Martial discipline joyned with a singular desire 
and resolution to aduaunce and enlarge both the bounds of their 
Empire and the profession of their Religion. The which was 
alwaies accompanied with such notable Policie and prudence, 
that the singularitie of their vertue and good gouernment, 
hath made their Armes alwaies fearefull and fortunate, and 
consequently, hath caused the greatnesse of their estate." ^ 

The Supreme Command 

The sultan was commander-in-chief of the entire army, 
standing, feudal, and irregular. When the army was summoned 
for a great campaign, it gathered about him; on the march and 
in camp every body of troops had its place with reference to him ; ^ 
in formation of battle, he was the central point about which the 
whole vast display was organized. When the army was assem- 
bled, and then only, the sultan stood forth visibly and palpably 
as the head and center of the Ruling Institution and of the 
Ottoman nation upon which it rested. His kullar were gathered 
about him in devotion of body and soul; they were going forth 
under his leadership against the infidel or the heretic; they were 
manifesting the results of the long and careful training that he 
had given them; they marched, encamped, and fought under 
his eye and command; they formed an honored and privileged 

panied the Turkish army on an expedition against Persia (probably 1533 to 
1536): " I saw a Spain decapitated together with his horse and servant, because 
the horse, having been left loose, entered some one's field.'' 

^ Postel, iii. 31, speaking particularly of the Janissaries. 

^ Morosini, 261. 

3 The Policy of the Turkish Empire, " To the Reader." 

* Junis Bey (below, pp. 274, 275) gives the order of march; Postel, 29 ff., 
describes the encampment. 


nucleus in the midst of a vast, loyal, and ambitious national 
army; they surrounded and served him as monarch with a splen- 
dor seen at no other time; ^ with complete apparatus of council, 
ministry, treasury, and chancery, they carried on his govern- 
ment from whatever city, valley, mountain, or plain he might 
be occupying. Here was the Ruling Institution in being, ex- 
hibiting in varying degrees all its aspects, revealing its essential 
imity, enforcing the despotic will of its master, commander-in- 
chief, and chief executive. 

The very greatness and unity of the RuHng Institution as an 
army was not without serious disadvantages. The power could 
not wisely be delegated, and the army could not effectively be 
divided. At the opening of the campaign of 1529 Suleiman 
issued to Ibrahim a commission as Seraskier, or general of the 
army, which placed the Ruling Institution, the Moslem Institu- 
tion, the Ottoman nation and all the subject nations under his 
command. The Sultan's order ran as follows: " My Viziers, 
Beylerbeys, Judges of the Army, Jurists, Judges, Seids, Sheiks, 
Dignitaries of the Court and Supports of the Empire, Sanjak 
Beys, Generals of Cavalry or of Infantry, Alai Beys, Suhashis, 
Cherihashis, and all the victorious Soldiery great and small, 
high and low, the Officials and Appointees, all inhabitants of 
My kingdoms and lands, the people of city and country, rich 
and poor, distinguished and ordinary, and all men are to recog- 
nize My above-named Grand Vizier as Seraskier . . . and to 
consider all that he says and desires as a command from My 
own mouth. . . ." ^ This was a delegation of the supreme 
command of the army and all the human military resources of 
the empire to Ibrahim. Since Suleiman himself went on this 
campaign, the supreme command was not then exercised apart 
from the sultan's presence. Four years later, however, Ibrahim, 
clothed with the same authority, was sent ahead to open the 
Persian campaign. On the return march he added the title of 
Sultan to that of Seraskier in issuing his daily orders.^ Perhaps 

^ Chalcocondyles, 135, says that the Turks lodged more grandly in the field 
than in peace at home. 

2 Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 79. ' Ibid. 160. 


he felt like Pepin the Short, that he who had the power of king 
should also bear the name. But Suleiman was no roi faineant; 
Ibrahim had gone too far, the empire could have but one head, 
and Ibrahim suffered the bow-string.^ Suleiman profited by 
the experience; he appointed no more Seraskiers with such 
exalted powers, but himself led the army when it was assembled 
as a whole. The campaign of Szigeth was the thirteenth which 
he directed in person.^ The precedent of delegating the supreme 
command was, however, a fatal one; for Selim the Sot and all 
his successors were to use this method to avoid the exertion of 
campaigning, and from this step was to date the beginning of 
the empire's downfall.'' " This so constituted organization had 
need of two things: it needed for its animation a man filled him- 
self with a vivid spirit and free and mighty impulses, and to give 
it movement and activity it required continual campaigns and 
progressive conquests; in a word, war and a warlike chief." ^ 
When another than the sultan should become head of the Ruling 
Institution as visibly assembled, and yet be only an official 
removable at a cloistered monarch's caprice, the army would 
lose the keystone of its organization, and ere long victory would 
depart from its banners. 

Indivisibility of the Army 

The essential oneness of the army, based on the sultan's owner- 
ship of the standing body of cavalry and infantry and its attach- 
ment to his person,^ and on the incapacity of the territorial 
armies to carry on great campaigns alone, was also a fact injurious 
to the Ottoman power. At the accession of Selim I, the empire 
had been nearly identical in territory with the Byzantine Empire 

^ Other reasons have been advanced to account for the fall of Ibrahim (cf. 
Postel, iii. 48 ff.). The fact that he had became a danger to the throne is 

2 Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 438. 

' Halil Ganem, i. 206. 

* Ranke, 11. 

s The Spahis of the Porte, and the Janissaries were not as a body put under a 
Seraskicr's command until the time of Alurad III: D'Ohsson, vii. 30S; Djevad 
Bey, i. 16. 


under the Macedonian dynasty. No great power had marched 
with it. The conquests of Selim in the East and of Suleiman in 
Hungary had pushed the frontiers to the borders of two great 
powers: Persia on the east and Austria on the west remained 
henceforth constantly hostile in feeling and often hostile in fact 
to the Ottoman Empire.^ They were so far away from the Otto- 
man capital that the road to either was a journey of months for 
the army, and relations with both were often disturbed at the 
same time; but there was only one great army, and there could 
be only one serious war. If, while war was in progress on one 
frontier, conditions became intolerable on the other, it was neces- 
sary to make peace on what terms could be had, and carry the 
army to the other extremity of the empire. Thus, Suleiman and 
Ibrahim concluded the peace of 1533 with Charles and Ferdinand, 
in order to be free to proceed against Persia at once ; ^ and thus 
Suleiman was obliged to arrange terms with Ferdinand in 1547, 
in order to march against Persia in 1548.^ Had a Cardinal Ces- 
arini absolved Charles and Ferdinand from either treaty, and 
had they been able to act, they could have marched to Constanti- 
nople in 1534, 1535, or 1548 against practically no resistance.^ 
On the other hand, had the Ottoman standing army been divis- 
ible, and separable from the person of the monarch, the Sultan 
could have kept a steady pressure at both frontiers; and by 
taking advantage of opportunities he might have conquered far 
to the west and north, and realized his ambition of adding all 
the heretical Persian dominions to his empire so as to reach 

1 Hammer, Gesckichte, iii. 141. 

2 Final audience was given to the Austrian ambassadors on June 23 (ibid. 138), 
and Ibrahim marched about September 21 (ibid. 143). 

3 Ibid. 277. 

* Postel, iii. 54, speaking of Charles V in 1535-36, says: "The Emperor had 
and lost during the war against the Sofi the fairest opportunity that ever Prince 
had in this world, to recover Constantinople: for at every shaking of a leaf, all the 
people trembled, and there was no guard in the city except the inhabitants and ten 
thousand Ajem-oghlans " [these from the time of Mohammed II had been commis- 
sioned to guard the capital during the army's absence: D'Ohsson, vii. 348]. 
Erizzo, 131, also discusses this danger, emphasizing the valor of the Persians and 
the readiness of Asia Minor to revolt. The Turks in Constantinople in 1535 
feared that the expedition which Charles V was preparing against Tunis was 
intended for an attack upon their city (Revue Africaine, xix. 352). 


the Chinese frontier, and of sending the horsetail standards to the 
Atlantic shore of North Africa.^ Or he might have carried out 
the intention expressed through Ibrahim in 1533 — which was 
quite in keeping with his character — of aiding the Emperor 
Charles V to enforce unity of religious belief upon the Protestants 
and the pope.^ It is interesting to notice that Austria possessed 
two great advantages over Persia in the wars with Turkey. 
The Ottomans did not wish to pass the winter in the cold north, 
but they did not object seriously to staying in Aleppo or Bagdad. 
This attitude probably saved Vienna for Austria and lost Bagdad 
for Persia. Again, since the journey from Vienna to Constanti- 
nople was much easier than that from Tabriz to Constantinople, 
the Austrians could have reached Constantinople while the 
Ottoman army was in the East, whereas the Persians could not 
have reached Constantinople while the Ottomans were in Austria. 
This advantage remained theoretical, however, in Suleiman's 
time, since neither Austria nor Persia was ever able to attempt 

Thus the inherent character of the Ottoman Ruling Institu- 
tion, as a single magnificent army united under the supreme 
command of the sultan, made the institution incapable of adapta- 
tion to an indefinitely expanding empire, and so set bounds, 
certain as those of fate, to Ottoman conquest. The sultan had 
but one arm; it was a long arm and a strong one, yet it could 
reach only a fixed distance, and it could strike but one blow. 

^ Suleiman in his letter to Ferdinand, November 27, 1562, says, " I, Lord of the 
Orient from the land of Tsin to the extremity of Africa " : Busbecq, De Re Militari, 

2 Ibrahim said, " I, if I now wished it, could place Luther on one side and the 
Pope on the other, and compel them to hold a council; what Charles ought to have 
done, the Sultan and I will now do ": Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 134. 



I. Privileges of the Kullar 

No disgrace was attached to the condition of being the sultan's 
slave; on the contrary, the title of kul was felt to be an honor. 
Boys longed to bear it.^ No one who had it desired to be rid 
of it. It' carried marked distinction and secured deference 
everywhere. Those who revealed by their costume, bearing, or 
assertion that they were the sultan's property were treated with 
the consideration always granted in monarchies to property and 
persons closely related to the sovereign. 

This honor shown to the kullar rested, however, on no mere 
servile attachment to the sultan and on no mere fear of an 
Oriental despot. The sultan's slaves from lowest to highest 
were set off from his subjects by a distinct set of privileges which 
in Western minds were associated only with nobility. Besides 
a general protection over them all by means of careful registra- 
tion and watchful organization, the sultan bestowed upon all 
his kullar the personal rights of immunity from taxation, ^ and 
responsibility to none but their own officials and courts and to 
him.^ At the same time he freed them all from anxiety about 
the necessities of life, and enabled most of them to enjoy its 
luxuries, by regular pay from his treasury, or, in the case of some 
high officials, by revenues from ample estates. In return for 
these privileges they were all sternly required to render him 
honorable service, usually of a mihtary character. This service 
was not always of a character that the West considered honorable. 
The labors of the Ajem-oghlans, and the foot service of the Janis- 
saries and auxiliary corps were not noble in Christian feudalism, 

^ Gerlach, 257, quoted in Zinkeisen, iii. 222. 
^ Postel, iii. 19. 

^ Spandugino, 218; Postel, i. 126. 


which knew no implements but sword and spear and fought from 
the back of a horse. But these humble slaves of the sultan 
possessed the same privileges as the highest, and any service 
was honorable which would make their muscles stronger for 
fighting and teach them to contribute to the sultan's military 
undertakings on sea and land. All members of the sultan's 
family were supposed to use their income in strengthening his 
military forces. Janissaries had pay for themselves alone. 
Ghurebas had only enough to keep themselves and one horse 
for each man. Other Spahis of the Porte brought additional 
horsemen in accordance with their pay. Higher officials were 
expected to support armed households large in proportion to 
their revenues. After the model of the sultan's household, 
every kul according to his means built up a military estabhsh- 
ment which followed him and his master to war. 

Immunity from taxation grew naturally out of the slave 
status. There would be no advantage to the sultan in exacting 
taxes from persons whom he supported and who were supposed 
to devote all their energies to his service and use all their income 
for him. As long as the Ruling Institution was kept firmly to 
its purpose, pressure was applied, not so that successful kullar 
would surrender part of their income to the master, but so that 
they would bring as large a contingent as possible to fight his 
battles. Suleiman's grand vizier, Rustem, following a long- 
disused precedent of the time of Bayezid I,^ — a reign which had 
in various ways fore-shadowed later evils, — established a tax 
upon the greater offices of the empire ;2 but, since the sultan 
did not receive the whole of such charges, the custom amounted 
to the sale of offices. Not only was such a practice out of har- 
mony with the theory of the Ruling Institution, but it proved 
very injurious in operation, and was rightly accounted one of 
the causes of the decay of the empire. The sultan took pay at 
the granting of an office, and so presently did every official from 
the men under him; until in time the practice became so sys- 

* D'Ohsson, vii. 202. 

* Suleiman permitted this because of the increase it produced in his income: 
Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 114; Halil Ganem, i. 197. 


tematized that a regular tariff was arranged and brought into 
use on the occasion of every appointment.^ Those who thus 
were put to great expense on coming into office felt the necessity 
of recouping themselves by whatever means lay in their power.^ 
Hence arose not merely oppression of the sultan's subjects, 
both Christian and Moslem, but also a partial recovery of losses 
at the expense of the sultan himself. His servants were forced 
to devote to personal affairs a large part of the attention that 
should have been all his, and to curtail by various devices the 
contingent which they furnished for his mihtary service. When 
the members of the Ruling Institution began to prey upon 
each other, the grand vizier, on behalf of the sultan, taking the 
lead, the solidarity of the institution began to be broken. It 
may be true that in the West, as Montesquieu said, the honor 
of a monarchy was not inconsistent with the sale of ofl&ce ; ^ but 
in the Ottoman Empire it opened the door to fatal corruption. 

The members of the Ruling Institution had not always had 
their own system of justice; they had long been under the 
jurisdiction of the ordinary Moslem courts. This had led to an 
essential difficulty; the ordinary courts were part of another 
institution and were recruited in a wholly different way; their 
judges had risen through a rival system of education, and were 
men of letters rather than men of war; the favored kullar of 
the sultan had, therefore, come to feel averse to obeying them.^ 
Accordingly, Bayezid II had ordered that the members of his 
family should be judged by their own officers.^ This was a 
radical change; for it brought into prominence the distinction 
between the two institutions, and had the further effect of setting 
off the kullar from all the rest of the population of the empire, 
and of constituting them almost a separate nationahty. Their 

1 D'Ohsson, vii. 182, 202. 

2 Ricaut, 140; D'Ohsson, vii. 287. 
^ Montesquieu, livre v, ch. xix. 

^ Postel, i. 126: " les gents de la court, qui ont leurs chefs Aga 6* Bassi pour 
luges," etc. 

^ Spandugino, 214 S., relates how this came about, and says (p. 218), "No 
Cadi can have power and authority over the slaves who receive pay from the 


position became one greatly to be desired. The Moslem-born 
population came to feel that somewhere there was a great in- 
justice. They whose ancestors had shed their blood for the faith 
were, in the lands which their fathers had conquered, denied 
admittance to the class which not only filled most of the offices 
of army and state but enjoyed high privileges. Sons of the 
conquered inhabitants, infidel-born, might alone become nobles, 
paid by the state rather than contributing to its expenses, not 
subject to the judges trained from boyhood in the Sacred Law; 
while their own Moslem sons were rigidly excluded from the 
honored class, were obliged to bear a part in the burdens of the 
state with small hope of sharing its glory, and were expected to 
take their chances before the same courts to which Christians 
and Jews were brought for civil and criminal cases. The very 
extent of the privileges of the kullar made toward the break-down 
of the system. 

Nobility not Hereditary 

The privileges of the sultan's kullar fell short of those of 
Western nobihty in one very important respect, namely, that 
they could not normally be handed on to the descendants and 
heirs of those privileged. This exception is so important that 
various Western writers have affirmed that the Turks had no 
nobles.^ As the word is used in this treatise, heredity is not 
regarded as of the essence of nobility; the latter is considered 
to lie in the possession of special personal privilege, recognized 
in the structure of the state. 

In the early Ottoman days, several of the high offices of state 
became the appanages of particular famihes. The family of 
Kara Khalil Chendereli held the office of grand vizier con- 
tinuously for a century, and furnished an occupant of the office 
at a later date.^ The descendants of Michael of the Pointed 
Beard led the Akinjis until the time of the first siege of Vienna.^ 

1 Zane, 407; Robertson, i. 249. 

2 Hammer, Gcschichte, i. 176, 684; ii. 674. 

' Ibid. i. 96. The descendants of Michael have been among the very few 
families who were constituted landed nobles in the Ottoman Empire. Seven 
*' endowments of the Conquerors " still exist, one of which benefits his line: Heid- 
born, 314. 


The family of Samsamat Chaush held the office of master of 
ceremonies for generations.^ A descendant of the thirteenth- 
century poet Jelal ad-din Rumi held office under Suleiman.^ 
Some writers of the early sixteenth century said that, whereas 
Osman had been aided in winning his dominions by two Greek 
renegades, Michael of the Pointed Beard, and Malco, and by 
Aurami or Eurcasi, a Turk, he had promised that he would 
" never put hand in their blood or fail to give them a magis- 
tracy." ^ The promise had been kept, and in 1537 one of the 
Michaloglou was Sanjak in Bosnia and one of the Malcosoglou 
was Sanjak in Greece. The other family was then extinct. 
It is said that these were considered to be of royal blood, and that 
in case of failure in the Hne of Osman the succession to the throne 
would fall to them. 

Apart from these few exceptions, the principle of heredity in 
office had been excluded from the Ottoman system by the time 
of Suleiman. The Ottomans, by old Turkish rule probably 
derived from the Chinese, knew no nobility apart from office 
and public service. An exception was introduced by Islam in 
the case of Seids, or Emirs, descendants of the Prophet; but 
this modification the Ottomans did not wholly respect.^ Accord- 
ingly, Ottoman nobility became official,^ personal, and without 
hereditary quahty. It was, in fact, the reverse of hereditary, 
since nobility in the father was an actual hindrance to the son and 
to all his descendants. But the kullar were not the only class 
in the Ottoman Empire which enjoyed official, personal nobihty. 
The members of the Moslem Institution were also exempt from 

^ Hammer, Geschichte, i. 96. 

2 Ibid. iii. 18. 

3 Spandugino, 13; Ramberti, below, p. 242; Junis Bey, below, p. 273. D. 
Barbarigo, 19, names eight great families among whom the succession might fall 
(he says that some thought it should pass through the female line) : in Rumelia 
four, — Micali, ErsecH, Eurenesli, Egiachiali; in Anatolia, four, — Cheselamath, 
Diercauli, Durcadurli, Ramadanli, formerly called Spendial. Ricaut, 107, says 
that in his time there existed an " ancient compact " by which, in default of 
heirs male in the Ottoman line, the empire was to descend to the Crimean Tartars. 

* Ricaut, 211. 

* Ibid. 129: "A Turk is never reverenced but for his Ofl&ce, that is made the 
sole measure and rule of his greatness and honour, without other considerations 
of Vertue or Nobility." 


taxation, were supported out of public revenues, and were left 
in enjoyment of their own government as a part of their general 
jurisdiction in the empire. They had an advantage over the 
kullar in that their property was not subject to confiscation. 
Their position will be discussed later.' 

In the program of the Ruling Institution the policy of avoiding 
heredity of nobility fitted in exactly with the slave system, the 
educational scheme, and the army arrangements; for the knowl- 
edge that every man was considered to be " his own ancestry," 
and that increased honor and privilege depended on achievement 
alone, made every ambitious member a devoted slave, an inde- 
fatigable learner, and a dauntless warrior. The reasons for this 
policy, the method of applying it by advancement through 
merit, and the vivid impression which it made on thoughtful 
Western observers have been described already; ^ but for its 
observance an additional reason of great weight may be men- 
tioned. Not only did it prevent the accumulation of property 
and power in the hands of the members of one family, but it 
allowed no influence to become intrenched in the offices of central 
and local government. No Beylerbey or Sanjak Bey could hope 
to rebel successfully. All were " but strangers and foreigners in 
the countries they ruled," ^ and held their positions by the most 
insecure tenure. The Ottoman Empire was not destined to go the 
way of that of Charlemagne or of the Seljuk Turks. Whatever 
decay it might undergo, it could not break up into small inde- 
pendent states under officials who had converted their governor- 
ships into sovereignties, so long as its two great institutions were 
maintained consistently.^ 

' Below, ch. vii. * 

2 Above, ch. iii, under heads " Other Motives for Incorporating Christians," 
" Advancement Based on Merit." 

' Ricaut, 129. 

* About the year 1800, when the two institutions, and particularly the Ruling 
Institution, had reached an extreme state of decay, and before new institutions 
after Western models had yet been introduced, the Ottoman Empire was to come 
very near to such a breaking-up. It seems actually to have been saved by the lin- 
gering of the tradition against heredity in olTue; for, though Ufe-tcnure of purchased 
governorships had become regular, no Pasha except the North African corsairs 
of the seventeenth century, and Ibrahim in Egypt in the early nineteenth century, 


Against this policy two main tendencies conspired, both based 
on " human nature," the strife of favor against merit, and the 
desire of the excluded to share in privilege. The first was liable 
to disturb the order of promotion, the second to open the system 
to the sons and descendants of the officials and to other IMoslems. 
No one but Selim the Grim was fitted to maintain the policy 
rigidly against such pressure. Suleiman yielded a Httle on the 
first point, in such matters as the promotion of Ibrahim and 
Rustem; ^ and the second began in his time to gain ground at 
the bottom, by the admission of sons of Janissaries to the ranks 
of the Ajem-oghlans. Within a generation after his death, 
however, the flood-gates were to be opened.^ The body of Janis- 
saries and the body of Spahis of the Porte were gradually but 
swiftly to be made Moslem and so cut off from the Ruling In- 
stitution; the age at which the pages passed out of the palace 
was to be postponed; and in time the divided Ruhng Institution 
was to cease to be the admiration of the West and was to become 
its laughing-stock. But Suleiman was spared the sight of such 
a decadence. Near the end of his reign, after Rustem and 
Roxelana had ceased to disturb, the system brought to the top 
one of the greatest of Ottoman statesmen, Mohammed Sokolli. 
At about the same time the Moslem Institution also raised up 
a great legist, Ebu su'ud.^ These two upheld the institutions 
and the empire at the height of their glory for nearly thirty years, 
of which fifteen lay after the death of Suleiman. 

II. Character of the Sultan's Court 

In the early stages of all monarchies the household of the 
prince and the government of the state have probably been 
identical.* After the period of estabHshment has come to an 
end and settled institutions have been organized, the household 
and the government have tended to draw apart into separate and 
distinct systems under different officials. Which of the two 

succeeded in founding a dynasty upon Ottoman soil. For the disorders about 
1800, see Heidbom, 144. 

1 Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 490-491, quoting Kochi Bey. 

2 See above, p. 69, note 3. 

2 Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 278. ^ Hammer, Slaatsverwaltung, 6. 


has become of the greater importance in the eyes of the sov- 
ereign and in influence upon the policy and destiny of the 
nation has depended on circumstances, and particularly on the 
character of individual monarchs. While such a state has been 
in a period of increase of power and influence, the government 
has regularly been the more prominent: men of practical expe- 
rience in affairs and in the field have overshadowed the palace 
servants. When decay and decline have set in, the household, 
partly by way of cause and partly by way of effect, has risen to 
supremacy: individuals of more or less secluded hfe, but possess- 
ing opportunities for personal intercourse with the monarch, — 
favorites, body-servants, women, and eunuchs, — have made 
the men of affairs and of war dependent upon them for place and 
authority. The Ottoman Empire came clearly into the stage of 
differentiation between household and government after the 
conquest of Constantinople in the reign of Mohammed II. In 
the time of Suleiman the empire was still in the period when 
government was greater than household; but clear signs were 
appearing that a less active and more plastic sovereign would 
turn the scale. 

The household of the Ottoman sultan was curiously divided 
and limited. An essential difference between the courts of 
Christian and Moslem monarchs was created by the seclusion 
of women in Mohammedan society. In the W^est, w^omen 
appeared with the men of the court not only on occasions of 
amusement and diversion, but also in public parades and cere- 
monies of less and greater importance, and the ladies of the royal 
family led the fashionable society of the land. In the East, on 
the other hand, the visible court and retinue of the monarch 
was wholly ungraced by the presence of the fair sex; all the great 
ceremonies and cavalcades were participated in by men alone. 
It seems to be a fact that, before the middle of the reign of Sul- 
eiman, no woman resided in the entire vast palace where the 
sultan spent most of his timc.^ The women of his family were 

^ Postel, i. 31, says that Suleiman occasionally sent for one of his women 
to visit him in the principal palace. Nicolay, 62, reports that about 1551 Roxe- 
lana was residing within the palace grounds. By 15S5 the principal ladies of the 


elsewhere, carefully guarded behind walls which with very few 
exceptions no man but himself might pass.^ The men and the 
women who were associated with the sultan constituted two 
separate worlds, between which the only bond was himself. 

The sultan's household was divided in another way. By the 
maxims of despotic government it is forbidden that the ruler 
should associate on terms of intimate friendship with those who 
are his high officials of state. In order to avoid this regulation 
and yet provide his master with intelligent and amusing com- 
panionship, the Nizam-al-mulk advised the Seljuk sultan MeHk 
Shah to choose as boon companions a band of courtiers who 
would be allowed to have no share whatever in the conduct of 
affairs.^ This resource was hardly open to the Ottoman sultans, 
first because the dignity and independence of Moslem-born 
Ottoman Turks deprived them of the pHancy which is expected 
from courtiers, and second because the sultan's Christian-born 
slaves, who had been led onward by ambition ever since they 
had entered his service, and at the end of their education were 
ready to become men of affairs, were not fitted to be mere courtiers. 
The difficulty became greater after Mohammed II, filled with 
the Byzantine notion of imperial sacredness, ordered that no 
one should sit with him at table.' A sultan was thus practically 
forced by a combination of principles and circumstances to spend 
his leisure hours with boys, eunuchs, and women.^ The only 
mature men with whom he could converse freely were a small 
and select group of religious advisers, astrologers, and physicians; 
all the other men of his household met him only formally and for 

harem had been transferred to the new palace, leaving the old palace to the function 
of a training-school for recruits. These steps illustrate the rapid increase of the 
importance of the harem in the Ottoman scheme. 

^ Exceptions were made in case of the old Hojas, or teachers of the young princes, 
the religious advisers of the queen mother, and physicians. See Postel, i. 35; 
Ricaut, 68; D'Ohsson, vii. 11; Hammer, Staalsverwaltung, 73. 

2 Siasset Nameh, 121, 123, 163. 

3 " Kanun oi the Imperial Table," printed in Hammer's S taatsverf assung, g8: 
" It is not my Kamin that any one should dine with my Imperial Majesty; it 
might be some one not of Imperial blood." Suleiman did not always observe this 
Kanun (cf. Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 99). 

* Erizzo, 138; Morosini, 281. 


the transaction of business. So great limitations on his com- 
panionship could not fail to influence his character, and in the 
course of a few generations to tend greatly toward the predomi- 
nance of household over government. 

To confine the consideration of Suleiman's court to his imme- 
diate household would be to narrow the discussion too much. 
The chief ofTicers of government formed a part of his retinue on 
all ceremonial occasions, and had not ceased to be counted as 
his personal followers. In fact, all the members of the Ruling 
Institution, except the Ajem-oghlans and young pages, may be 
regarded as belonging to the sultan's court in that large sense 
of the termi which includes all those individuals who are attached 
to the person of the monarch as his daily associates, his coun- 
cillors, the officers and members of his household, his body-guard 
and palace-guard, and his retinue on ceremonial occasions and 
in camp. The splendid court of Suleiman the Magnificent is 
worthy of separate and special treatment for which there is no 
room here; in describing it, as in describing his army, only those 
aspects which are of a governmental nature can be considered. 
The topics that will claim attention are the subdivisions of his 
household and the main features of its organization, the impor- 
tance given to personal and public ceremony, the splendor of the 
court, and the influence of the court on the destiny of the empire. 

Organization of the Household ^ 

The sultan's household may be considered in three principal 
subdivisions, each of them composed of a number of parts: the 
outside service of the palace, the inside service of the palace, 
and the harem. The outside service was composed of men 
and Ajem-oghlans, the inside service of white eunuchs and pages, 
the harem of black eunuchs and women. The first two sub- 
divisions were, in time of peace, in attendance at the principal 
palace which had been built by Mohammed II on the site of the 

^ Extended descriptions of the household are found in D'Ohsson, vii and 
Hammer's Slaalsverwultung. Lane-Poole, in his Story of Turkey, ch. xiv, gives a 
good, clear summary of D'Ohsson. References to these authorities are here omitted 
except in a few instances of special interest. 


acropolis of ancient Byzantium. The grounds of this palace 
were extensive: within the first gate was a large open space 
used on state occasions as a parade ground; within the second 
gate were the buildings of the palace proper, a beautiful garden, 
and an exercise ground for the pages. The members of the 
outside service, except the gardeners, did not ordinarily pass 
beyond the second gate of this palace. The harem was per- 
manently located some distance away in the center of the city, 
in the first palace occupied after the conquest, known in the six- 
teenth century as the Old Palace.^ In time of war, practically 
the entire outside service, and the principal officers and personal 
attendants from the inside service, accompanied the sultan. 
None of the women of the harem were taken with the army, as 
this was against the Ottoman custom, though permitted by the 
Sacred Law.^ In excursions during time of peace some of the 
ladies might accompany their lord.^ The three subdivisions of 
the household will be considered in the reverse order. 

The Harem 

The harem was so distinct in Suleiman's time from the rest 
of his household, so little seen and known, so much his personal 
affair, that it would seem scarcely to demand attention in a con- 
sideration of his court. The importance of its officials and 
personages was small as compared wdth later times, after the 
harem had been removed to the principal palace and the sultans 
had begun to spend a much larger portion of their time in its 
society. Yet the influence of two of its ladies upon Suleiman 
was so great as to give them a place in history and a relation to 
the destiny of the nation. Accordingly, the harem cannot be 
passed over without mention. Its organization has already been 
sketched so far as regards the recruiting, conversion, and educa- 
tion of the women ;^ its groupings and principal personages re- 
main to be described. 

1 Hammer, StaatsverwaUung, 71; Menavino, 179. The Eski Serai of the six- 
teenth century stood where the Seraskierat, or War OfiSce, now stands. 

2 D'Ohsson, V. 52. ^ Postel, i. 32. 
4 See above, pp. 56, 57, 78, 79. 


The guard and order of the palace of the harem was committed 
to forty or more black eunuchs/ under an official known as the 
Kizlar Aghast, or, literally, the *' general of the girls." This 
Agha was held in great honor, and was made administrator of 
many religious endowments for the benefit of various mosques, 
and particularly of the vakfs of the Holy Cities of Mecca and 
Medina. His importance in Suleiman's time bears no compari- 
son with what it became later. Other black eunuchs held official 
positions in the service of the principal ladies, and had the 
oversight of the education of the young princes.^ 

The greatest lady of the harem, while life was spared to her, 
was the sultan's mother, the Sultana Valideh. Not only did 
she receive great respect and deference from her son, but she 
had a general oversight and authority over all his women. The 
next lady in importance was the mother of the sultan's first son; 
and after her came the mothers of other sons. Mothers of daugh- 
ters enjoyed much less consideration. Each of these favored 
ladies had her own suite of apartments, her business staff under 
a woman known as her Kiaya, which may here be translated as 
steward or housekeeper, and her group of personal and domestic 
servants. The Kiaya of the queen mother enjoyed great im- 
portance. The group of slave girls who were the sultan's personal 
and domestic servants when he visited the harem were also 
under a Kiaya with assistants. Sons of the sultan lived with 
their mothers during their tender years. They were carefully 
educated in letters and arms, much as were the pages, but with 
greater deference.' At a suitable age they were sent out, with 
carefully selected little courts, to the governorship of provinces. 
Daughters were married at an early age to high officials of the 
sultan.^ In later generations infant sons who might be born to 
them were not allowed to live, lest they might become a menace 
to the throne. This seems not to have been the case in the time 

^ Junis Bey (below, p. 269) says twenty, a number scarcely sufficient. Twenty 
years earlier Menavino, 180, speaks of about forty. 
2 Ricaut, 67-68, mentions several of these. 
» Postel, i. 35. 
* Ricaut, 73. 


of Suleiman, who avoided danger by excluding them carefully 
from office.^ 

Information about Suleiman's harem and family comes 
guarded with explanations of the difficulty found in obtaining 
trustworthy reports. Some facts are known, and probabilities 
exist as to others. Suleiman's mother lived until far along in 
his reign. The mother of his eldest son, Mustapha, held, accord- 
ing to custom, the next place in his harem. After the year 1534 
she divided her time between the palace at Magnesia, where her 
son was Sanjak Bey, and the harem palace in Constantinople.^ 
Khurrem, usually called Roxelana, had supplanted her in favor 
at some previous date, and, being legal wife of the Sultan, held a 
position superior to hers in some respects. Suleiman seems not 
to have visited his harem very often.' Mihrmah, his daughter by 
Roxelana, who became the wife of Rustem, was very dear to 

The Inside Service 

The five chambers of pages, under the control of white eunuchs, 
and the doorkeepers supphed the inside ser\'ice of the principal 
palace. The head of this service was the Kapu Aghast, or " gen- 
eral of the gate," a white eunuch, who was also charged with the 
management of many reUgious endowments. He had the right 
to speak to the sultan when he wished,^ and hence was very 
highly regarded. The Kapuji-bashi, or head doorkeeper, was 
also a white eunuch, who had charge constantly of the second 
gate of the principal palace, with a company of twenty or more 
white eunuchs who were guards under him.^ The pages have 
already received attention from the educational point of view. 
Nearest the person of the sultan were the pages of the Khas 
Oda, or Inner Chamber, of whom there were probably thirty- 

* Hammer (Geschichte, ii. 222) says that the custom of accomplishing the death 
of sons of daughters of sultans (by neglecting to tie the navel cord) dates from 
Mohammed II; but no contemporary authority appears to mention such a custom. 
D'Ohsson, vii. 93, says that it was instituted in the time of Achmet I. The son of 
a sister of Selim I was Beylerbey of Aleppo about 1550 ( .Alberi, Anonimo of 1553, 

2 Ludovisi, 29; Postel, i. 31. See p. 141, note 2. * Spandugino, 64. 

3 Postel, i. 31. ^ Menavino, 137. 


nine, the sultan himself being reckoned the fortieth.^ A number 
of these pages later bore the title of Agha, but they seem not to 
have done so in Suleiman's time. Their chief ofiEicer was the 
Khas Oda-hashi, or head of the Inner Chamber, one of the pages 
in Suleiman's day, but in later times a white eunuch. The 
pages of highest rank were the Silihdar, who outside the palace 
carried the sultan's weapons, the Cliokadar, who carried his gar- 
ments, and the Sharabdar, or cup-bearer.^ The others took care 
of his apartments and his wardrobe, and brought his food to 
him. The second group of pages constituted the Khazineh 
Odassi, or treasury, under a well-paid white eunuch, the inside 
Khazinehdar-bashi. These, to the number of sixty or seventy, 
cared for all the treasures in the sultan's palace, made all pay- 
ments, and kept all accounts.^ Another Khazinehdar-bashi 
took care of all the financial affairs of the inside service which 
needed attention outside the palace walls. The Kiler Odassi, or 
pantry, under a white eunuch called the Kilerji-bashi, cared for 
the bread, pastry, and game of the sultan; their chief controlled 
also the kitchen service of the palace. The pages of this chamber 
seem not yet to have finished their education.'* They, together 
with the pages of the Inner Chamber, rode with the sultan 
whenever he left the palace. The remaining two chambers, the 
Large and the Small, or the Old and the New, were concerned 
wholly with the education of the pages.^ They were under the 

' D'Ohsson, vii. 34. Whether this number was fixed in Suleiman's time does 
not appear from the records. Mohammed II had 32 officers of the Khas Oda 
(Hammer, Staatsverfassiiiig, 96). Mcnavino, 121-1 23, names three special officers, 
15 of second grade, and 35 of third grade, before mentioning the treasury. 
Ramberti and Junis Bey (below, pp. 243, 263) name 6 principal officers, but do 
not distinguish the odalar further. Chesneau, 39, saj's that 25 of the pages were 
Suleiman's personal scr%'ants, and that 5 served him specially. Navagero, 45, 
speaks of 25 or 30 in the Khas Oda. Ricaut, 52, speaks of 40. 

* Ramberti and Junis Bey, as above; Postel, iii. 4; Navagero, 45. 
' Navagero, 44. 

* The number of pages in the Kilcr Odassi is given by Menavino, 125, as 25, all 
between 20 and 22 years of age. Navagero, 44, says that they numbered 300 or 
400; but this is incredible. He gives no numbers for the purely educational odalar, 
and evidently has counted them all in the Kilcr Odassi. 

' Hammer {Slaatsverd'altung, 30) erroneously says that the pages of these odalar 
attended to the lowest duties of the palace, and were recruited from three palace 
schools outside. Navagero, 44, disproves this. 


general direction of the Ikinji-Kapu-oghlan, or eunuch of the 
second gate. ^ The entire personnel of the inside service amounted 
to from six to eight hundred persons. The eunuch officers 
maintained severe discipline, exact obedience, and perfect 
order among them all.^ The groups of eunuchs who had charge 
of the colleges of pages in Pera and Adrianople may also be 
reckoned in the inside service. It would seem that the ac- 
counts of all these palaces were kept as one, and that therefore 
the chief officers of the principal palace must have supervised 
the officers of the others.^ 

The Outside Service 

The members of the household who were not held within 
the inner regions of the palace or near the person of the sultan 
were far more numerous. Many stood in close relations to the 
members of the inner service, either being under their authority 
or having regular dealings with them. All, of course, served the 
sultan, either directly or nearly so, through the mediation of 
one or more officers. To describe at length their subdivisions, 
duties, and officers would be to repeat an account which has been 
given often by others. Only a general sketch will be attempted 
here, by way of distinguishing the various groups of the service. 
Beginning with those in closest relations to the sultan, they 
were the learned associates of the master, the kitchen service, 
the body-guard, the palace-guards, the gardeners, the stable 
service, the tent-pitchers, the masters of the hunt, and the 

The learned associates of the sultan belonged chiefly to the 
corps of the Ulema. They therefore represented the Moslem 
Institution near the person of the monarch. Chief among them 
was the sultan's Hoja, or teacher, a confessor or adviser in relig- 
ious matters, who was held in very great esteem and was often 

^ An additional chamber, the Seferli Odassi, or Chamber of Campaign, was 
instituted by Murad IV to attend to his laundry work and other special duties in 
time of war. The membership was chosen out of the educational odalar, and it 
ranked next after the Kiler Odassi. See Hammer, StaatsverwaUung, 28. 

2 Ricaut, 47. 

2 Ramberti, below, p. 255. 


advanced to high judicial office. Next came two Imams, or 
preachers to the sultan, associated with whom were a number of 
muezzins, or chanters. After these ranked the Ilekim-hashi, 
or chief physician, who had ten or more associates; the Munejim- 
bashi, or chief astrologer, whose services were believed to have 
a very real value; and the Jerrah-bashi, or chief surgeon, with 
ten or more helpers. 

The kitchen service under the oversight of the Kilerji-bashi 
comprised bakers, scullions, cooks, confectioners, tasters, and 
musicians, each to the number of from fifty to one hundred.^ 
Allied to these were the companies of tailors, shoemakers, fur- 
riers, goldsmiths, and the like, who were employed exclusively 
in the palace service.- Each group had its responsible head and 
was subject to a thorough oversight, since even such remote 
affairs, when under the care of the Ottoman Ruling Institution, 
were regulated and ordered with great precision. A number of 
these servants, such as the scullions, wood-cutters, and water- 
carriers, were Ajem-oghlans. 

The body-guards were three, the Muteferrika, the Solaks, 
and the Peiks. The Muteferrika, or Noble Guard, consisted 
of from one to two hundred of the choicest graduates from the 
page schools and of sons of high officials.' Among them, in 
1575, were brothers of the Voivodes of Wallachia and Moldavia. 
The Muteferrika followed immediately after the sultan on horse- 
back, and in time of battle were ready to defend him to the end. 
The Solaks were veteran Janissary archers, to the number of 

1 Ramberti and Junis Bey, below, pp. 245, 264. 

2 Mcnavino, 160 ff. 

3 Zinkeison, iii. 181, states erroneously on the authority of Trevisano, 125 
(meaning p. 128), that these were all Turks and of noble blood. The fact 
that Menavino, 146, calls them " schiaui " is sufficient disproof. Zinkcisen 
also quotes Spandugino, 114, to the efToct that the Muteferrika were all lords, 
or sons of princes or of lords; but Spandugino, 62, says that pages pass to the 
office of Muteferrika from the highest four oftices at least. Trevisano, 127, says, 
" Li quali sono giovani nati Turchi, e figliuoli d'uotnini di aulorild " (italics 
not in original); but " men of authority " were practically all renegades. Moro, 
341, calls them, in 1590, sons of the principal Turks. The fact seems to be that most 
of the Muteferrika were Ottomans of the second generation (/. e., sons of renegades) 
and that the rest were regarded as ennobled by passage through the high offices 
of the Khas Oda. 


about one hundred and fifty, who marched on foot beside the 
sultan wherever he went, with bows and arrows ready for instant 
use. The Peiks were a picturesque company of halberdiers of 
about one hundred men,^ which had been taken over, arms, 
costumes, and all, from the Byzantine emperors. They ran 
in front of the sultan when he rode, and were always ready to be 
sent on missions. 

The palace-guards were the Kapujis, the Chaushes, and the 
Bostanjis. The Kapujis, or gatekeepers, were Ajem-oghlans 
who, to the number of three or four hundred,^ watched the 
outside gates of the principal palace and of the palace of the 
harem. Like all the other guards, they accompanied the sultan 
to war, where they were the guards of his tent. The Chaushes, 
who numbered about one hundred,^ were ushers who acted as 
marshals on the days of Divan and of state ceremony, and 
who in time of war dressed the ranks of the troops.^ They also 
acted as messengers of state within the empire. When a distant 
officer had been condemned to death, a Chaush was sent to exe- 
cute the sentence and bring back the offender's head.^ Since 
among the Chaushes there were many renegades who knew 
various European languages, they were useful as interpreters 
and were sometimes sent as envoys on important missions.^ 
The Bostanjis, or gardeners, were Ajem-oghlans, and as such 
have been mentioned already. To the number of about four 
hundred,^ they cared for the garden and grounds of the principal 
palace, and rowed the sultan's caiques when he wished to enjoy 
the matchless scenery of the Bosphorus. Their chief, the 
Bostanji-hashi, who had risen from their ranks, seems to have 

1 Menavino, 155 (he says they were Persians); Nicolay, 98; Ramberti, below, 
p. 251. 

2 Spandugino, 116, gives the number 300, and says that they became Janissa- 
ries. Menavino, 140, mentions 500. Ramberti (pp. 246, 253) mentions 250 
at the principal palace and 100 at the palace of the harem; the latter he calls 

^ Junis Bey, below, p. 265. 

* Spandugino, 125. 

6 Postel, iii. 9. 

^ Ricaut, 373. In his time they numbered 500 or 600. 

^ Junis Bey, 263. Ramberti, 245, speaks of 35, which is clearly too few. 


been the only adult man besides the sultan who resided within 
the inner regions of the palace.' His general charge over all 
the sultan's gardens, wherever they might be, included oversight 
of the banks and shores of the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmora, 
and the Dardanelles.^ This gave him great power, and his favor 
was much courted. 

The stable service was exceedingly important in a nation which 
relied so much upon cavalry, and which was still under the 
influence of the tradition of the steppe lands. The sultan for 
his own use kept a stable of two hundred horses tended by a 
hundred men, and for the use of his retinue four thousand horses 
tended by two thousand men.' Besides these, a thousand or 
more Bulgarian Christians known as Voinaks tended herds of 
horses on the great domanial pastures.* All these followed 
the army to war as grooms. They were under the control of a 
very great official, the Emir-al-Akhor,^ or grand equerry, who, 
with the second equerry, also had oversight of the numerous 
saddlers, camel-drivers, and muleteers of the imperial service, 
and control of all the domanial pastures and forests of the em- 

The head gardener, the head gatekeeper, the grand equerry, 
the second equerry, and the Mir-Alem,'' or standard-bearer, 
constituted the special group of officers known as the Rekiah- 
Aghalari, or " generals of the [imperial] stirrup." The Mir- 
Alem had charge of the imperial standards and the six horsetails 
which were borne before the sultan. He distributed standards 
and horsetails to Beylerbeys and Sanjak Beys, who thus in a way 

* Postel, iii. 11. 

2 Menavino, 129. In D'Ohsson's time (vii. 15) this ofBcial was also the jailer 
and presiding executioner of the palace, inspector of the water supply and forests 
near the capital, and overseer of hunting and fishing and of the trade in wine and 
lime. How many of these functions he exercised under Suleiman seems not to 
have been recorded. In Spandugino's time (p. n8) the chief Kapuji was presiding 

* Rambcrti, 251; Junis Bey, 268. 

* Menavino, 150. They were not ^!<//dr. Cf. the Z(i;«og;7<T, below, pp. 252, 268. 
^ Shortened in use to Afiri-akhor, Imnikhor, Imbrahor, Imbroor, Imror, etc. 

* D'Ohsson, vii. 17; Menavino, 148-150. 
^ A short form of Emir-Alem. 


received investiture at his hands. ^ As a consequence he ranked 
first among the officers of the household as related to the govern- 
ment. He also had superior control over the gatekeepers, and 
he commanded the military music. 

The tent-pitchers, under a Mihter-bashi, cared for the sultan's 
tents in peace and war. Similar groups were the Veznedars 
(who weighed the money received by the sultan), the guards 
of the outside treasury, the purchasing agents of cloth and musUns 
for the palace, and the guardians of presents. ^ 

The masters of the hunt were important officials in the time 
of Suleiman, who practised the ancient royal custom of going 
with great state and numerous attendants to hunt over a large 
region.^ Heads of the dog-keepers, falconers, vulturers, gerfal- 
coners, and hawkers held honorable position. A number of the 
pages of the higher odalar had subsidiary duties as falconers;* 
Ibrahim was chief falconer at the time of his promotion to the 
position of grand vizier. A part of the regular army aided in 
the hunts. The Janissaries show by the names of some of their 
chief officers that their corps grew in part out of the hunting 
organization of the early sultans.^ 

The intendants, or Umena, had charge of various departments 
of supply and administration. They were the Shehr-emini, 
or intendant of imperial buildings; the Zarabkhaneh-emini, or 
intendant of mints and mines; the Mutbakh-emini, or intendant 
of the kitchen and pantry; the Arpa-emini, or intendant of 
forage for the stables of the palace; and the Masraf-shehriyari, 
or substitute for the intendant of the kitchens. 

This rapid survey, though by no means complete, shows 
something of the comphcated organization, the numerous 
personnel, and the various functions of the groups of the imperial 

^ Menavino, 145. 

2 D'Ohsson, vii. 21. In his time these were under the " Chief of the Black 
Eunuchs." It does not appear who controlled them under Suleiman. 

* Postel, iii. 12; Hammer, Gesckichte, iii. 44. 

^ Hammer, Staatsverwaltung, 37. 

5 Spandugino, 127-128, describes the hunting organization under Bayezid II. 
Ramberti and Junis Bey (below, pp. 249, 266) state that 2700 or 900 Janissaries 
served under the Scgban-bashi and Zagarji-bashi in the care of the dogs. 


household. The number of individuals connected with it may 
be estimated to have been between ten and fifteen thousand, 
many of whom were not the sultan's slaves, but his servants 
and employees in various capacities. All, however, except the 
few members of the Ulema, were under the complete control 
and command of members of the Ruling Institution. No 
confusion resulted from such great complexity, for each group 
of servants had its definite duties, and knew exactly from whom 
to receive orders and to whom to report accomplishment. 

It is clear that the functions of many of the officials of the 
household, especially those of the head gardener, the grand 
equerry, and the standard-bearer, intrenched upon the province 
of government. The chief black eunuch and the chief white 
eunuch collected and administered the revenues of many parcels 
of land which were devoted to special purposes. The Umena 
were so clearly recognized as exercising governmental functions 
that they were regarded as chancellors, — an exception, made 
for the sake of convenience, to the rule of separating household 
and governmental officials. It resulted, therefore, that, while 
order was maintained with comparative ease within the mech- 
anism of the household and, as will be seen, of the government, 
difficulty and confusion accumulated in the relations of the Ruling 
Institution to the rest of the empire. The splendid organization 
worked admirably down a certain distance from the top; but, 
as the energy of the single will became mediated by many offi- 
cials, and as the multiplex land-ownership and varied population 
of the empire was approached, disorder to the extent of un worka- 
bility was so constantly threatened that only more or less con- 
vulsive readjustments, resorted to from time to time, enabled 
the institutions of the empire to remain in being. 

The Ceremonies of the Court 

The Sacred Law, based on the practice of Mohammed and the 
four early caliphs, discouraged display of every sort;^ nor did 
the Seljuk Turks take readily to the magnificence which under 
Persian influence had prevailed at the court of the Bagdad 

» D'Ohsson, iv. 98 ff. 


caliphate.^ So, too, the early Ottoman sovereigns appear to 
have maintained simpHcity of Hfe down to the time of Murad II. 
A contemporary observer said: "The very Magnates and 
Princes observe such simpUcity in all things, that they cannot 
be distinguished from others. I saw the King going a long dis- 
tance from his palace to Church accompanied by two youths. . . . 
I saw him also praying in Church, not in a chair {cathedra) 
or royal throne, but seated Hke the rest on a rug spread on the 
ground; nor was there about him any ornament, either sus- 
pended or exhibited or displayed. He used no singularity in 
regard to his garments or his horse, by which he could be dis- 
tinguished from others. I saw him at the funeral of his mother, 
and I could not possibly have recognized him, had he not been 
pointed out to me." ^ 

In the understanding of Mohammed II, however, the capture 
of the imperial city seems to have included the appropriation 
of imperial forms and ceremonies; for no small number of his 
Kanuns dealt with matters of rank and ceremony.^ By the time 
of Suleiman the Kanuni Teshrifat, or Law of Ceremonies, had 
become a collection of considerable magnitude.* It is significant 
that the regulations concerning such matters as the color and 
shape and material of robes and turbans, the order of precedence 
on small as well as great occasions, and the observances proper 
to each such occasion were made a matter of law. On the one 
hand, a body of practice was set up which, though not distinctly 
forbidden by the Sacred Law, was contrary to its essential spirit. 
On the other hand, to rules of court etiquette, which in the West 
are often unwritten and certainly have not similar standing 
with acts of legislation, were given the rank and authority of 
imperial laws. The Law of Ceremonies stood on a par with 
the Law of Subjects, the Law of Fiefs, the Law of Eg}pt, and 
the Law of Fines and Punishments. In fact, this law was 
observed even more carefully than the others, since the matters 
which it covered usually came under the eye of the sultan himself. 
It was as much the duty of an officer to wear the proper costume, 

^ Siasset Nameh, i6i. * Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 88 ff. 

2 Tractatus, ch. ix. * Ibid., 434 ff. 


and to appear in the right place and at the right time at public 
ceremonies, as to attend to the business connected with his 

All the classes of members of the sultan's household, all the 
high officers of government, and all the separate bodies of troops 
in the standing army were clearly distinguished from each other 
by costume or head-dress or by both. Each group and every 
officer in each group had his exact place in every ceremonial 
assembly and his exact rank in every procession. Each great 
official, beginning with the sultan, had his title for use in public 
documents, a designation which, though not exactly fixed, 
varied little from time to time.^ 

Ceremonial occasions were numerous and splendid. All 
were participated in by representatives from each division of 
the Ruling Institution, and on the greatest occasions practically 
its whole membership was present. The ceremonies may be 
grouped as simple occasions, religious festivals, and extraordinary 
ceremonies. Among the simpler ceremonial occasions were the 
regular meetings of the Divan, which in time of peace took place 
four times a week, on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. 
On Fridays the sultan rode forth to mosque in magnificent state.- 
On other days some of the officials made visits of state to their 
superiors. Every three months the Janissaries were paid with 
much ceremony in the parade-ground between the first and second 
gates of the palace. For the sake of giving an impression of 
wealth and magnificence, such occasions were frequently chosen 
for the reception of ambassadors.' 

The great religious festivals of Islam, in which all the Moslems 
of the empire participated, were celebrated by the court with 
great pomp. These were the two feasts of Bairam, one of which 
comes at the close of the fast of the month of Ramazan, and the 

* The statements of this paragraph are based upon the Kanuni Teshrifat as 
given in Hammer, Slaatsverfassung, 434 ff. See Delia Valle, i. 45: " Tutti gli uffici, 
e tutti gli ordini, tanto della militia, quanto della Corte, e d'ogni altra sorte di 
persone, hanno qui il loro habito proprio, and in particolare al portamento della 
testa, si cognosce ciascuno che cosa e." 

^ Postel, iii. 13; Hummer, Geschichle,ni. 18. 

' Ricaut, 156. 


other and greater seventy days later. ^ On the great day of 
Bairam the ceremony of kissing the hand of the sultan was 
performed by all the officials of the household and government. 

The principal extraordinary ceremonies were those in celebra- 
tion of the birth of sons or daughters to the sultan, of the cir- 
cumcision of princes and the marriage of princesses, the accession 
to the throne, and the going forth of the sultan to war. The 
greatest of all Suleiman's celebrations was probably that of the 
circumcision of his sons, Mustapha, Mohammed, and Selim, in 
1530. Twenty-one successive days of display, feasting, games, 
and formal presentation of gifts contributed to the unparalleled 
grandeur of the occasion. ^ 

It is not impossible to obtain an idea of the appearance of 
the sultan's court and retinue at this time of the empire's greatest 
splendor. One observer, often quoted already, who was gifted 
with superb powers of expression, has left a clear record. Seer 
and seen alike vanished from the earth more than three centuries 
ago; yet through the keen eyes of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq 
the world has ever since looked upon the great Suleiman as he sat 
and rode in state. Busbecq, ambassador to the Ottoman court 
from Emperor Charles the Fifth and his brother Ferdinand, 
describes his first audience with Suleiman in camp at Amasia 
in 1555, also the train that attended the sultan as he went forth 
from Constantinople to war against his son Bayezid in 1559, 
and a Bairam ceremony in camp near Scutari a few weeks after 
the latter event. Some quotations from these descriptions will 
give a better idea of Suleiman's court than any number of 
statistics. The first describes the audience at Amasia : — 

" The Sultan was seated on a very low ottoman, not more 
than a foot from the ground, which was covered with a quantity 
of costly rugs and cushions of exquisite workmanship; near 
him lay his bow and arrows. . . . 

^ The festival of the Birth of the Prophet was not instituted until the reign of 
Murad III (Hammer, Slaatsverfassung, 469). The sultan's annual visit to the 
relics of the Prophet also became a great ceremony. 

2 Hammer, Gesckichte, iii. 96-101. Only less splendid was the marriage of 
Ibrahim to Suleiman's sister in 1524 {ibid. 38). 


" On entering we were separately conducted into the royal 
presence by the chamberlains, who grasped our arms. This has 
been the Turkish fashion of admitting people to the Sovereign 
ever since a Croat, in order to avenge the death of his master, 
Marcus, Despot of Servia, asked Amurath for an audience, and 
took advantage of it to slay him. After having gone through a 
pretence of kissing his hand, we were conducted backwards to 
the wall opposite his seat, care being taken that we should never 
turn our backs on him. . . . 

" The Sultan's hall was crowded with people, among whom 
were several officers of high rank. Besides these there were all 
the troopers of the Imperial guard, Spahis, Ghourebas, Oulou- 
fedgis, and a large force of Janissaries. . . . Take your stand 
by my side, and look at the sea of turbaned heads, each wrapped 
in twisted folds of the whitest silk; look at those marvellously 
handsome dresses of every kind and every colour; time would 
fail me to tell how all around is glittering with gold, with silver, 
with purple, with silk, and with velvet; words cannot convey 
an adequate idea of that strange and wondrous sight: it was the 
most beautiful spectacle I ever saw. 

" With all this luxury great simplicity and economy are 
combined; every man's dress, whatever his position may be, 
is of the same pattern; no fringes or useless points are sewn on, 
as is the case with us, appendages which cost a great deal of 
money, and are worn out in three days. In Turkey the tailor's 
bill for a silk or velvet dress, even though it be richly embroidered, 
as most of them are, is only a ducat. They were quite as much 
surprised at our manner of dressing as we were at theirs. They 
use long robes reaching down to the ankles, which have a stately 
effect and add to the wearer's height, while our dress is so short 
and scanty that it leaves exposed to view more than is comely 
of the human shape; besides, somehow or other, our fashion of 
dress seems to take from the wearer's height, and make him look 
shorter than he really is. 

" I was greatly struck with the silence and order that prevailed 
in this great crowd. There were no cries, no hum of voices, the 
usual accompaniments of a motley gathering, neither was there 


any jostling; without the slightest disturbance each man took 
his proper place according to his rank. The Agas, as they call 
their chiefs, were seated, to wit, generals, colonels (bimbaschi), 
and captains (soubaschi). Men of a lower position stood. The 
most interesting sight in this assembly was a body of several 
thousand Janissaries, who were drawn up in a long line apart 
from the rest; their array was so steady and motionless that, 
being at a little distance, it was some time before I could make up 
my mind as to whether they were human beings or statues; at 
last I received a hint to salute them, and saw all their heads 
bending at the same moment to return my bow.^ On leaving 
the assembly we had a fresh treat in the sight of the household 
cavalry returning to their quarters; the men were mounted on 
splendid horses, excellently groomed, and gorgeously accoutred. 
And so we left the royal presence." ^ 

On the second occasion, when Suleiman was going forth to 
war, Busbecq obtained a place at a window: — 

" From this I had the pleasure of seeing the magnificent 
column which was marching out. The Ghourebas and Oulou- 
fedgis rode in double, and the Sihhdars and Spahis in single fiJe. 
The cavalry of the Imperial guard consists of these regiments, 
each of which forms a distinct body, and has separate quarters. 
They are believed to amount to about 6000 men, more or less. 
Besides these, I saw a large force, consisting of the household 
slaves belonging to the sultan himself, the Pashas, and the other 
court dignitaries. The spectacle presented by a Turkish horse- 
man is indeed magnificent. His high-bred steed generally comes 
from Cappadocia or Syria, and its trappings and saddle sparkle 
with gold and jewels in silver settings. The rider himself is 
resplendent in a dress of cloth of gold or silver, or else of silk or 
velvet. The very lowest of them is clothed in scarlet, violet, 
or blue robes of the finest cloth. Right and left hang two hand- 
some cases, one of which holds his bow, and the other is full of 

^ Compare Gritti, 27: the Janissaries at the reception of ambassadors " stand 
in such quiet and order as for war that it is a marvellous thing and not to be believed 
by those who have not seen it with their own eyes." 

* Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 152 ff. 


painted arrows. Both of these cases are curiously wrouji^ht, and 
come from Babylon/ as does also the targe, which is fitted to the 
left arm, and is proof only against arrows or the blows of a mace 
or sword. In the right hand, unless he prefers to keep it dis- 
engaged, is a light spear, which is generally painted green. 
Round his waist is girt a jewelled scimitar, while a mace of steel 
hangs from his saddle-bow. . . . The covering they wear on 
the head is made of the whitest and lightest cotton-cloth, in 
the middle of which rises a fluted peak of fine purple silk. It is a 
favorite fashion to ornament this head-dress with black plumes. 
" When the cavalry had ridden past, they were followed by 
a long procession of Janissaries, but few of whom carried any 
arms except their regular weapon, the musket. They were 
dressed in uniforms of almost the same shape and colour, so 
that you might recognize them to be the slaves, and as it were 
the household, of the same master. Among them no extraordi- 
nary or startling dress was to be seen, and nothing slashed or 
pierced. They say their clothes wear out quite fast enough 
without their tearing them themselves. There is only one thing 
in which they are extravagant, viz., plumes, head-dresses, etc., 
and the veterans who formed the rear guard were specially 
distinguished by ornaments of this kind. The plumes which 
they insert in their frontlets might well be mistaken for a walking 
forest.^ Then followed on horseback their captains and colonels, 
distinguished by the badges of their rank. Last of all, rode their 
Aga by himself. Then succeeded the chief dignitaries of the 
Court, and among them the Pashas, and then the royal body- 
guard, consisting of infantry, who wore a special uniform and 
carried bows ready strung, all of them being archers.^ Next 
came the Sultan's grooms leading a number of fine horses with 
handsome trappings for their master's use. He was mounted 
himself on a noble steed; his look was stern, and there was a 

^ A name for Cairo, used much from the time of the crusades onward. 

* Nicolay, 88-89, explains that the wearing of ostrich plumes, attached in 
a tube of jeweled gold to the front of the turban, and curving over the head and 
down the back, was a highly-valued privilege accorded only to such Janissaries 
as had distinguished themselves in action. 

' The iSolaks. 


frown on his brow; it was easy to see that his anger had been 
aroused. Behind him came three pages, one of whom carried 
a flask of water, another a cloak, and the third a box.'^ These 
were followed by some eunuchs of the bed-chamber, and the 
procession was closed by a squadron of horse about two hundred 
strong [the Muteferrika]." ^ 

Busbecq spent three months in Suleiman's camp near 
Scutari : — 

" I should have returned to Constantinople on the day before 
the Bairam, had I not been detained by my wish to see that 
day's ceremonies. The Turks were about to celebrate the rites 
of the festival on an open and level plain before the tents of 
Solyman; and I could hardly hope that such an occasion of 
seeing them would ever present itself again. I gave my servants 
orders to promise a soldier some money and so get me a place 
in his tent, on a mound which commanded a good view of Soly- 
man's pavilions. Thither I repaired at sunrise. I saw assem- 
bled on the plain a mighty multitude of turbaned heads, at- 
tentively following, in the most profound silence, the words of 
the priest who was leading their devotions. They kept their 
ranks, each in his proper position; the lines of troops looked like 
so many hedges or walls parting out the wide plain, on which 
they were drawn up. According to its rank in the service each 
corps was posted nearer to, or farther from, the place where the 
Sultan stood. The troops were dressed in brilliant uniforms, 
their head-dresses rivalling snow in whiteness. The scene which 
met my eyes was charming, the different colours having a most 
pleasing effect. The men were so motionless that they seemed 
rooted to the ground on which they stood. There was no cough- 
ing, no clearing the throat, and no voice to be heard, and no one 
looked behind him or moved his head. When the priest pro- 
nounced the name of Mahommet all alike bowed their heads 
to their knees at the same moment, and when he uttered the 
name of God they fell on their faces in worship and kissed the 
ground. . . . When prayers were finished, the serried ranks 

^ The Sharabdar, the Chokadar, and the SilHidar. 
^ Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 283 ff. 


broke up, and the whole plain was gradually covered with their 
surging masses. Presently the Sultan's servants appeared 
bringing their master's dinner, when, lo and behold! the Janis- 
saries laid their hands on the dishes, seized their contents and 
devoured them, amid much merriment. This licence is allowed 
by ancient custom as part of that day's festivity, and the Sul- 
tan's wants are otherwise provided for. I returned to Constanti- 
nople full of the brilliant spectacle, which I had thoroughly 
enjoyed." ^ 

Influence of the Court 

The influence of the Ottoman court may be looked at in three 
ways, — as alTecting the sultan, the Ruling Institution, and the 
destiny of the empire; but all three ultimately reduce to the last. 
The sultan was influenced by his personal relationships with the 
different individuals or groups which came into closest contact 
with him. Reference has already been made to Roxelana. 
Undoubtedly she had much influence over her imperial husband, 
but to what extent she pushed him toward particular decisions 
and actions cannot be known. It is improbable that she had 
anything of consequence to do with the death of Ibrahim, since 
the favorite's own actions had brought matters to such a pass 
that he was a menace to the throne; moreover, her influence 
in public affairs seems not yet to have become great. Some 
writers of that date do not mention her at all, though she had 
already won the supreme affection of Suleiman, and had, so to 
speak, passed round the superior position of the mother of the 
first-born son by being made a legal wife.^ Seventeen years 

^ Ihid., 302 ff. These quotations may profitably be compared with those 
from the Tractaius in regard to the simplicity of Murad II (above, p. 134). Not 
a few descriptions of court and camp ceremonies in the century following the 
accession of Suleiman have been handed down. For example: Suleiman's entry 
into Belgrade in 1532 (Marini Sanuto, Ivi. 870); Suleiman's entry into Aleppo, 
1548 (anonymous report, in Alberi, 3d series, i. 224 ff.); Suleiman's reception of 
Captain Pinon in 1544 (Maurand, 207-225); Selim IPs reception of Dc Xoailles in 
1573 (t)u Fresne-Canaye, 59-72"*; Ahmed I's going to mosque, 1614 (Delia \'alle, 
68-71); Ahmed I's reception of the Venetian Bailo, 1615 (ibid. 98 ff.). 

* Postel, i. 31, speaks of the mother of Mustapha as having superior authority 
about 1537, though residing much at Magnesia; and he docs not speak of Roxelana. 
But Ludovisi, 29, shows that Roxelana was in 1534 the wife of Suleiman, and that 


later the situation was clear: Roxelana had triumphed completely 
over the mother of Mustapha; her son-in-law Rustem, married 
to Suleiman's well-beloved daughter Mihrmah, had held the 
supreme office of grand vizier for nine years; her hump-backed 
son Jehangir was Suleiman's favorite child. Nevertheless, 
as late as the beginning of 1553 Suleiman seems to have intended 
still that Mustapha should occupy the throne.^ 

Mustapha became a victim less of Roxelana and Rustem 
than of the indeterminate and dangerous condition of the rules 
of succession to the throne.^ Had primogeniture been the estab- 
lished order, Mustapha need only have been on his guard against 
poison; he would have lacked motive for rebellion, and his father 
would not have been in fear of deposition. Had not Moham- 
med II established the terrible Kanun which ordered the execu- 
tion of the brothers of a sultan at his accession, Roxelana need 
not have feared for the lives of her own sons. Had not the 
Janissaries helped Sehm to the throne ahead of time and against 
the wishes of his father, their favor toward Mustapha would 
not have forced a crisis. If Suleiman really desired Mustapha 
to succeed him, he made a great mistake in sending him far away 
to the governorship of Amasia. Bayezid, the ablest living son 
of Roxelana, was in Karamania; and Selim, the least promising 
of Roxelana's children, but apparently her favorite, was assigned 
to the governorship at Magnesia. Selim was thus removed 
from the capital by a journey of only five or six days, Bayezid 
by a somewhat greater distance, and Mustapha by a journey of 
twenty-six days.* Suleiman may have meant by these appoint- 
ments only to promote his sons to more distant governorships 
as they grew in experience and could be entrusted with greater 
responsibilities; they, on the other hand, could hardly fail to 
suspect that he had different intentions. Without further 
discussion, suffice it to say that, with custom and law as it was, 

the mother of Mustapha then resided with her son at Magnesia. For the decisive 
quarrel between Roxelana and the mother of Mustapha, see Navagero, 75. 

^ Navagero, 79. 

^ Described above, pp. 93-95. 

^ Navagero, 76-77. 


the situation was untenable. First Mustapha, and later Roxe- 
lana's own son Bayezid, became the victims of inexorable cir- 
cumstances in which she undoubtedly played some part, though 
exactly what it was cannot be known. ^ In so far as she contrib- 
uted to the fatal outcome, she hastened the fall of the empire. 
If ever a government demanded a strong man to keep it in opera- 
tion, the Ottoman government needed one to maintain its 
Ruling Institution. From the beginning there had been as yet 
no failure; but after Suleiman the Magnificent, the Legislator, 
was to come Selim the Sot, the Debauche! 

Nor was the beloved and pious Mihrmah without her influence 
on the fate of the empire, if it be true that she urged her father 
on to the great expedition against Malta.^ His reign had opened 
with two great triumphs: the fortresses that had defied the 
great Conqueror, Belgrade and Rhodes, had fallen before his 
troops. He had failed before Vienna, it is true; but in the 
thirty-five succeeding years he had made large conquests, he had 
strengthened his power, and his prestige had grown steadily. 
Now, near the close of his life, his mailed fist was broken upon a 
rocky isle in the Mediterranean. What but the confidence 
gained by that successful resistance gathered and nerved the 
Christian fleet that won the day at Lepanto ? The influence 
of Roxelana and Mihrmah foreshadowed the power exerted 
in later reigns by far inferior and far worse women. 

The influence of Ibrahim, for whose promotion Suleiman 
violated the rules of advancement in the government service, 
and of Rustem, for whom he broke the rule of giving no high 
place to relatives of the imperial family, has been discussed 
already.^ In his late years the Sultan came greatly under the 
influence of the Ulema, who had readier access to him than had 
any other outside force,^ and whose power over him has been 
thought by some to have been unfavorable. Just what ills it 

* The unfortunate Jehangir also was thought to have come to his death from 
shock at the death of Mustapha and fear of a similar fate for himself. See 
Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 178; Navagero, 77. But see Alberi, Anonimo of 1553, 
216, for another and more credible account. 

2 Hammer, Gescliiclilc, iii. 425. ' See above, pp. 78, 120. 

* Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 331; Halil Ganem, i. 199. 


brought about in his own time, however, are not easily to be 

The Ruling Institution was affected strongly by the splendor 
and luxury of the court of Suleiman. The Sultan had so enor- 
mous an establishment, and was so fond of display and ceremony, 
that a similar spirit developed in all his kullar. Each officer 
of position became inordinately ambitious to have a large house- 
hold, many horses, much portable wealth, and superb equipment 
for his horses and servants on state occasions and in time of 
war. Just as Suleiman's splendor embarrassed his finances, 
so that he was willing that Rustem should require payment for 
office from newly-appointed great officials, so most of his kullar, 
in order to keep up display, were led to undignified and extor- 
tionate procedures. In the time of Suleiman's grandfather the 
Ottomans of high position had already been excessively grasping. 
" And to tell the truth," writes Spandugino, " in that country 
they are more eager after money than devils after souls. And 
one cannot accomplish anything with the princes of- lords except 
by the power of money. In general, as well the emperor as his 
princes and lords have mouths only for eating, for if you go to 
them without giving them some present you will accomplish 
nothing." ^ 

That eagerness for wealth with which Spandugino reproached 
the Turks became only worse under the Magnificent sultan's 
example. The members of the Ruling Institution might prey 
on each other to a certain extent by the sale of offices; but the 
ultimate evil effect fell upon the subjects outside. They in the 
end must pay for all the luxury and splendor of the great court 
and the Httle courts. The pressure upon them tended to become 
worse and worse. Lands began to grow less productive and to 
pass out of cultivation. That dead blight began to descend 
upon agriculture and trade which persists in Turkey to the present 
day.^ Yet in the time of Suleiman this weakness hardly appeared. 

^ Spandugino, 185. A generation earlier still La Broquiere, 186, said: "No 
one speaks to them [the pashas] unless he brings them a present, as well as one 
for each of the slaves who guard their gate." 

2 Spandugino, 145, relates how in his time the peasants were eaten, as it were, 
all the year by tithes, compulsory presents, land-tax, and extortion. The earlier 


Although his best two sons had come to cruel deaths, although 
twenty thousand of his troops had lately died in vain at Malta, 
he went forth to his last campaign with a train which surpassed 
in pomp and splendor all that he had led before.^ 

sixteenth-century writers seem not to have observed that the sultan's subjects were 
especially miserable. Morosini (1585), 272, remarks vigorously u{)on the tyranny 
and oppression which were causing depopulation and destroying the incentive of 
the farm-dwellers to produce more than a bare sustenance. Zane (1595), 395, 
415, writes in a similar vein, (lerlach, 52 (quoted in Zinkeisen, iii. 361), found 
those who lived at a distance from Constantinople in a wretched state of oppres- 
sion. Knolles (ed. 1687, p. 982), writing about 1603, speaks of the desolate con- 
dition of the empire, especially in those regions through which the army was 
accustomed to pass. In Ricaut's time (pp. 124, 145, 323) agricultural decline, 
accomjianicd by misery and depopulation, was apparent. 
^ Hammer, Geschichk, iii. 438. 




The Ottoman Ruling Institution has now been considered in all 
but the last of its aspects. The recruiting of its members from 
Christian subjects and enemies, their conversion to Mohamme- 
danism, and their training for the duties of war and government 
were first explained; then the military duties and organization 
of the sultan's kullar, their privileged and noble status, and their 
organization and activity as a household and court were de- 
scribed. Of the seven aspects in which the Ruling Institution 
may be considered only one remains, that of government in 
the narrow sense. 

With certain exceptions, the Ruling Institution constituted 
the government of the Ottoman Empire. According to the 
Sacred Law, the rendering of justice belonged to the Moslem 
Institution, and many internal matters were left to be regulated 
by the subject nationalities, which were organized as churches, 
and by the foreign colonies, which remained under their own 
laws; but even over these bodies the Ruling Institution held the 
sword, and in the case of the Moslem Institution it held the 
purse-strings also. Aside from such exceptions, it attended to 
all the functions of government that were performed within 
the empire. These, however, as will appear, were by no means 
so numerous and extensive as are the activities of a progressive 
twentieth-century state. 

Some of the functions of government cared for by the Ruling 
Institution have already been described in the previous chapters. 
The guidance of the educational system, the management of 
the army of the empire, the conduct of local government, the 
oversight of the household, the care of the sultan's gardens, 
pastures, and forests, the regulation of ceremonies at his court, 
may be all be regarded as tasks of government. To some of 



them it will be necessary to refer again briefly; but the fact 
that they have been described already simplifies the problem 
of setting forth the plan of the government in its narrower 

Functions of the Ottoman Government 

All governments must in some fashion maintain themselves 
in place and in operation; they must obtain means to meet 
expenses, and they must keep some kind of record of their receipts 
and expenditures and of their acts. They must alter and expand 
the unwritten and the written rules under which they operate, 
at least enough to keep their system workable. They must 
protect their subjects sufficiently to enable them to earn a living 
and the means to meet taxation. They must meet the efforts 
of other governments of both a diplomatic and a military charac- 
ter. All these things the Ottoman government did in its own 
way. In addition, it remained in the sixteenth century strongly 
under the ancient impulse to increase its bounds and the number 
of its subjects, particularly at the expense of Christians and 
Shiitcs and in the interest of Sunnite Islam. 

The Ottoman government did not include among its functions 
the building and maintenance of systems of roads, bridges, and 
ferries, the conduct of a public postal service, the promotion 
of agriculture, industry, and commerce, the organization of a 
system of pubhc and universal education, the adjustment of 
taxation and customs duties in the interest of the welfare of its 
subjects, or an extension of the activities and liberties of its 
subjects. Benevolence toward the common people had hardly 
emerged into the consciousness of any sixteenth-century state. 
Self-maintenance in power by the most available means, which 
were usually military force; increase of power, authority, and 
territory, by similar means; and, incidentally, an assurance of 
the well-being of all the privileged persons who were connected 
with the government, in proportion to their importance: these 
were the chief objects aimed at by the governments of that day, 
whether in the West or in the East. 

Accordingly, the chief energies of the Ottoman Ruling Institu- 
tion in its capacity as government were directed toward the 


smooth running of the machine. For this object the best and 
most devoted men were obtained and trained. They, with as 
many other members of the Ottoman nationahty as possible, 
were organized into a magnificent army, which first of all 
defended and maintained the government against enemies at 
home and abroad, and then increased its dominions and greatness 
by victorious campaigns in the " land of war." The rehgious 
motive entered strongly here, since the power and conquests 
of the Ottoman nation were felt to be the power and conquests 
of Islam. The welfare and contentment of the members of the 
government, beginning with the sovereign, were assured by ex- 
clusive privileges, elaborate organization of personal ser\dce, 
and ceremonies in which they could be flattered by opportunities 
for display and by gradations of honor. 

There remained as the special functions of government, 
first, the careful elaboration and watchful improvement of the 
regulations under which the Ruhng Institution and the state 
were organized ; second, the keeping of every part of the admin- 
istrative machinery in the best possible order and condition; 
third, the acquisition of enough money and means to carry out 
the purposes of the government, and the supplying of this money 
and means in suitable quantity at the time and place needed 
and to the proper persons; and, fourth, the preparing and record- 
ing of all written acts necessary to the transaction of the business 
of the government. A fifth function was the adjustment of 
disputes between subjects of the empire who were not connected 
with the government; this was attended to largely by another 
institution, though supported and executed by the members 
of the government itself. The first of these functions, that of 
legislation, was cared for chiefly by the sultan himself; the second, 
of administration, was controlled by his viziers; the third, of 
finance, was managed by the Defterdars through twenty-five 
departments; the fourth, of chancery, was under the power of 
the Nishanjis; the fifth, of justice between the subjects, was, 
in matters controlled by the Sacred Law, administered by the 
Ulema, the learned men of the Moslem Institution, under the 
headship of the Kaziaskers. These five functions were by no 


means so clearly separated as were the groups of officials con- 
cerned with them. A logical classification of duties would have 
necessitated much readjustment. 

The striking way in which the Ottoman Ruling Institution, 
when regarded as a government, limited its operations almost 
exclusively to its own afTairs seems to have resulted from its 
character as a single slave-family. Although its essential char- 
acter is somewhat obscured by the facts that it was by far the 
largest slave-family in the empire, that it had ruhng authority, 
and that some of its members exercised general governmental 
functions, it is nevertheless true that the legislation of the sultans 
and of Suleiman himself was largely directed to the regulation 
of the institution itself, most laws of wider and deeper import 
being included in the almost unchangeable Sacred Law. The 
business of the viziers was also largely that of the institution, 
aside from the fact that the grand vizier, as representative of 
the sultan, headed also the justice of the empire. The imperial 
treasury, again, was concerned, in the first place, with obtaining 
the revenues due to the sultan, such of them as did not come 
from his personal rights as the owner of domain lands being 
farmed out, so that the government did not even here touch 
the people directly. In the second place, the revenues were 
paid out to the members of the institution as soldiers, servants, 
officials, and members of the royal family. All who followed 
the sultan to war without belonging to his great household 
provided their own support. Even the officers of local govern- 
ment, though appointed from his kullar, were supported by the 
assignment of lands which they administered themselves by 
means of the Ruling Institution. The sultan's chancery was 
similarly confined in its operations to the preparation and regis- 
tration of acts, decrees, commissions, and the like, most of which 
were concerned with the adjustment and operation of the Ruling 
Institution. Finally, the officers of the army and the govern- 
ment rendered and administered justice to all the kullar, besides 
deciding many law cases under imperial laws. To a very great 
extent, then, the sultan's government was that of a large slave- 
family, which secured its own interests and managed to the best 


advantage its own affairs, which cared Httle for the welfare of 
the great majority of the people of the empire, and which had 
dealings with them and attended to their affairs only when 
obliged to do so by the pursuit of its own aims. 

The Sultan as Head of the State and of the 


Suleiman's authority rested actually and immediately upon 
the military might which he controlled. Psychologically, it 
was strongly supported by the ancient Turkish tradition of 
absolute obedience to the ruler who led and fed his people, and 
by the imdying allegiance of the population of wide areas to the 
Caesar of New Rome, to whose seat and splendor Suleiman 
had succeeded. Theoretically, and, if a modern expression 
may be used, constitutionally, Suleiman's power was that of 
the ancient caliphs of Islam. It is true that he suffered under 
one apparently complete disqualification. A tradition of high 
order asserted that the Imams must be of the Prophet's tribe, the 
Koreish ; ^ but by an extension of the principle of agreement 
(ijma) by which the consensus of the Islamic doctors of the law 
of any period may establish an interpretation of some passage 
of the Sacred Law, Suleiman's father, after the acquisition of 
the Holy Cities and the resignation of the last Abbassid caliph 
at Cairo, had come into full rights as caliph. The title itself 
seems to have been known by none of the Western writers of the 
sixteenth century, nor was it commonly used by Suleiman in 
public documents. 

In his capacity as caliph, Suleiman was head of the Islamic 
state, defender, executor, and interpreter of the Sacred Law, 
and defender of the faith. He was under obligation to punish 
heretics and unsubmissive infidels, to protect true believers, 
and to extend the area of his divinely-appointed rule. To him, 
after Allah and the Prophet, was due the absolute obedience of 
all good Moslems within his dominions. As for his Christian sub- 

^ D'Ohsson, i. 268; Heidbom, 112, note 11. Heidborn, 106-121, treats fully the 
constitutional position of the sultan. 


jects, they also regarded him as their lawful sovereign, given 
by God as a punishment for their sins. The Sacred Law recog- 
nized no power of legislation in the head of the state, since God 
through Mohammed had legislated once for all; but it entrusted 
to him the functions of administration and justice, to be exercised 
to the fullest possible extent, subject always to the prescriptions 
of the Law. The sultan being thus supreme, all the great institu- 
tions of the Ottoman Empire are to be thought of, not as built 
upward from a basis in the popular will, but as extended down- 
ward from the divinely-appointed sovereign at the top. To 
what extent the Ruling Institution held this relationship has 
been indicated already. Central and local government, house- 
hold and court, standing, feudal, and irregular army, all depended 
upon the sultan. The Moslem Institution recognized him as 
its head, and the highest officials of the judiciary, chosen out of 
its membership, were appointed by him and removable at his 
will.' So also the Mufti, the chief of the jurists, was appointed 
by the sultan.^ Even the ecclesiastical organizations of the 
subject Christians and Jews were likewise extended downward 
from his authority, since at the capture of Constantinople the 
Conqueror had at once assumed that temporal headship of the 
Christian churches which had been held by the Byzantine 
emperors.^ The Greek Patriarch received from the sultan 
appointment and investiture, including a command to bishops, 
clergy, and people of his faith to render obedience to him in 
matters within his province; the other Christian groups and the 
Jews were likewise dependent. Finally, the privileges enjoyed 
by the foreign settlements all depended upon grants from the 
sultan or upon treaties made with him in his sovereign capacity.* 
As for the officials of the Ruling Institution, they were all either 
directly or indirectly the sultan's appointees. Grand vizier, 
viziers, treasurers, chancellor, generals of the inside service, 
generals of the outside service and the army, Beylerheys and 
Sanjak Beys, all took their places at a word from him, and at a 
second word all left them without a murmur. 

^ Hammer, Geschkhte, ii. 226. ' Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 1-3. 

* D'Ohsson, iv. 482 fi. * Ibid. i. 557, iii. 159, etc. 


The Sultan as Legislator 

So far as legislation was possible under the Ottoman system, 
the sole power to issue it rested in the sultan. The law which 
demanded obedience within the Ottoman Empire was fourfold: 
the Sheri, or Sacred Law of Islam; the Kanuns, or written 
decrees of the sultans; the ^(/d, or estabhshed custom; and the 
Urf, or sovereign will of the reigning sultan.^ The Sheri was 
above the sultan and unchangeable by him; the Kanuns and the 
Adet were subordinate to the Urf; the Urf, when expressed and 
written, became Kanun and annulled all contradictory Kanuns 
and Adet. 

The Sheri was the whole body of Islamic law as accepted by 
the Ottoman nation. Its long history cannot be detailed here. 
Based originally on the Koran, supplemented by traditions of 
Mohammed's legal decisions and sa>ings, and by the decisions 
of the early cahphs and the interpretations of early judges,^ 
it was first formulated by Abu Hanifa, who was the earhest of 
the four great orthodox Moslem doctors, and who became the 
accepted teacher of all Turkish peoples.^ His code was worked 
over again and again in the course of six centuries, as new deci- 
sions of judges and interpretations of jurists accumulated. 
Mohammed II found it necessary to have a new code prepared, 
a task for which he chose Khosrew Pasha, who, singularly enough, 
was a Christian renegade, seemingly almost the only one who rose 
high in the Moslem Institution.^ This work, finished in 1470,* 
was not sufficient in the days of Suleiman. At the time of its 
preparation the Ottoman Empire had been still wholly within 
territory that had remained Christian during all the early brilliant 
period of Islam ; but since then the sultans had conquered three 
seats of the later cahphate, Damascus, Bagdad, and Cairo, and 

^ Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 29. This use of the word Urf in Turkish is not 
the same as that of its Arabic original (see Redhouse, 1294; Youssouf Fehmi, 237). 
Heidbom, 37 flf., discusses the sources of Ottoman law, giving an especially 
thorough and excellent treatment to the Sacred Law. 

2 Macdonald, 71; D'Ohsson, i. 5 ff. 

' Macdonald, 94, 115; Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 4; D'Ohsson, i. 11 ff. 

* Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 9. 

^ D'Ohsson, 21. 


had come to hold the protectorate of the Holy Cities, where 
Mohammed and the early caliphs had ruled, A new code of 
law, therefore, better adapted to the more widely Moslem char- 
acter which the empire had assumed, was demanded. Suleiman 
charged Sheik Ibrahim Halebi (of Aleppo) with the task of pre- 
paring such a code; and the result, prepared before 1549, was 
the MuUeka ol-ebhar, the " Confluence of the Seas," which re- 
mained the foundation of Ottoman law until the reforms of the 
nineteenth century. * The MuUeka did not, however, entirely 
replace the previous codes and collections oifetvas, or authorita- 
tive juristic opinions, which continued to be used as law books of 
less weight. 

Early in the process of formulation, the Sacred Law was 
separated logically into two great divisions, — matters of faith 
and morals, and practical regulations, groups corresponding 
more or less closely to the Western conceptions of theology and 
law. The Moslems never made an actual separation of these 
two divisions of the Sacred Law; both in education and in 
practice they regarded them as parts of one great unity of ad\ice, 
precept, and command, divinely sanctioned and binding upon 
all true believers. The practical regulations, or the Law proper, 
went by the Arabic name oijikh; it included both jurisprudence 
and positive law.^ 

A group of Dutch and German thinkers, led by Dr. Snouck 
Hurgronje, has been so strongly impressed by the jurisprudential 
side of the Sheri as almost to deny that it has or has ever had an 
important practical side; ^ but a careful consideration of the early 
history of the Ottoman Empire suggests that their view in its 
entirety is not supported by the facts. Dr. Goldziher says: 
" In later days, historical consideration has proved that only 

* Hammer, Staalsverfassung, 10; D'Ohsson, i. 22-24. The MuUeka is the 
basis of D'Ohsson's excellent work, which consists of a translation of the code 
with its comments, to which he has added observations of great value based on 
historical studies and on his own investigations during many years' residence in 
Turkey. Heidborn, 44-69, gives a detailed account of the development of the 
Sacred Law. He also (pp. 85-89) describes the MuUeka and gives a table of its 

2 Heidborn, 40-41. This writer uses the iormfykyh. 

^ Snouck Hurgronje, in Revue de I'llislo'tre des Religions, xxvii. i fif., 74 ff. 


a small part of this system, connected with religious and family- 
life, has a practical effect as of old, while in many parts of merely 
juristical character this theological law is entirely put aside in 
actual jurisdiction. . . . Snouck Hurgronje was really the first 
who set forth with great acuteness and sure judgment the his- 
torical truth, namely, that what we call Muhammedan law is 
nothing but an ideal law, a theoretical system; in a word, a 
learned school-law, which reflects the thoughts of pious theo- 
logians about the arrangement of Islamic society, whose sphere of 
influence was wiUingly extended by pious rulers — as far as 
possible — but which as a whole could hardly ever have been 
the real practical standard of public life. He finds there rather 
a doctrine oj duties (Pflichtenlehre) of quite an ideal and theological 
character, traced out by generations of religious scholars, who 
wished to rule life by the scale of an age which in their idea was 
the golden period, and whose traditions they wished to maintain, 
propagate, and develop. Even the penalties for offenses against 
religious laws are often nothing else but ideal claims of the pious, 
dead letters conceived in studies and fostered in the hearts of 
God-fearing scholars, but neglected and suppressed in Hfe where 
other rules become prevailing. We find even in the oldest 
literature of Islam many complaints about the negligence of the 
religious law by Ulema in their struggle against the practical 
judges, that is to say against the executors of actual law." ^ 

The last sentence quoted contains by implication a genuine 
distinction between the " religious law," which may be called 
jurisprudence, and the " actual law." It is true that at the 
present time " actual law " in all Mohammedan lands consists 
only in a comparatively small proportion of precepts drawn from 
the Sheri; yet a body of precepts which today requires an elab- 
orate system of courts for its enforcement, and which offers a 
career to many thousands of living men as teachers, advisers, 
and judges, can hardly be adjudged a mere " doctrine of duties." ^ 

1 Goldziher, in Zeilschrifl fur Vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft, viii. 406 ff.; 
Kohler, ibid. 424 ff.; JuynboU, 8, 310. 

^ In Turkey at the present day the courts of the Sacred Law (Sheriyek) have sole 
cognizance of the following classes of cases: " in civil law, questions concerning 


Undoubtedly the Sheri has suffered a gradual shifting of emphasis 
from its practical to its jurisprudential side; undoubtedly it has 
suffered progressive encroachment upon the area of its practical 
application, beginning in very early times and leading up to an 
invasion in force in the nineteenth century by the principles, 
practice, and procedure of Western Europe. But in the Ottoman 
Empire of the sixteenth century the Sheri had no such inferior 
place. Even then, to be sure, it occupied by no means the whole 
field of practical law; but an examination of the quotations 
from the Venetian reports which were presented in an earlier 
chapter is of itself sufficient to show that at that time the Sheri 
held the place of overwhelming preeminence in legal matters, 
in point of usefulness as well as of honor; that its practical 
precepts to the full extent of their formulated scope were the 
private law of the land; that its judges were of equal or greater 
authority and repute than were the high officers of government; 
that the latter were in most cases obliged to execute decisions 
of the former, their independent jurisdiction being confined to a 
limited class of persons, and to the decision of administrative 
cases according to Kanuns outside the field of the Sacred Law.^ 

marriage, alimony, education of children, liberty, slavery, inheritance, wills, 
absence, and disappearance; in criminal law, suits concerning retaliation, the price 
of blood, the price of laming a limb, the price of causing an abortion, damages 
for disfigurements, the division of the price of blood" (Heidborn, 255). The 
Nizamiyeh, or secular courts, have sole cognizance of commercial and penal cases, 
and a few other groups. All other causes are taken before the Sheriyeh courts if the 
parties agree; otherwise before the Nizamiyeh courts. Thus the courts of the 
Sacred Law still retain a great deal of importance in Turkey. 

1 See, in particular, above, pp. 40, 41, 42. See also Postel, i. 116 ff., 124 ff.; 
Ricaut, 200 flf. Heidborn, 43, comments on this state of affairs, and explains 
the comparatively recent further legal developments in Turkey as follows: — 

" Durant de longs siecles Ic fykyh, tout petrifie qu'il etait, put suflire aux 
besoins de la society islamique et son manque de souplesse fut d'autant moins 
ressenLi, que revolution de cette soci^t^ elle-meme a 6te a peu pres nulle. As- 
soupie dans une lethargic profondc, elle semble se recucillir de son immense effort 
de jeunesse et contempler en spcctatrice indiflcrente ou dedaigneuse les progres 
realises, depuis, par I'Occidcnt. En Turquie seulement, a mesure que se resser- 
raient ses liens avec I'Europe, fut comprise I'imperieuse necessit6 de sortir de cet 
isolcment et d'emprunter a la culture occidentale ccrtaines m6thodes susceptibles de 
rajcunir le corps vicUi de I'empire. Par suite de cette orientation recentc, le fykyh a 
subi, en Turquie, d'importantcs abrogations de fait sinon de droit, qui atteignent 


The Sacred Law reached out far beyond the conception of law 
in the West. It was originally supposed to be sufficient for the 
entire government of the Islamic state (of which there was 
believed to be but one upon the earth)/ as well as for the minute 
regulation of the social, ethical, and religious life of all its mem- 
bers.2 From two circumstances, however, it rapidly became 
inadequate as a political constitution: first, from the expansion 
of the original simple Islamic society into a great world-power, 
with interests and relationships far more complex than had been 
dreamed of by the founders; and, second, from the fact that the 
Law, believed to be of divine origin,^ was proclaimed unchange- 
able by its own provisions, and hence could not, except with 
extreme difficulty, be adapted to new responsibilities and times. 
Judges and jurists labored manfully to provide elasticity by 
interpretation, but the task was too great to be completely 
successful. It became necessary, therefore, for princes to 
supplement the Sacred Law by decrees of their own, a course 
in which they could not transgress the positive commands of the 
Sacred Law. But even within the Law itself the jurists had 
allowed them considerable latitude, by classifying its provisions 
under different heads as of various degrees of obligation: some 
acts were forbidden, some were advised against, some were 
considered indifferent, some were recommended, and some were 
rigidly prescribed.^ Princes were compelled to keep hands oflf 
all matters that were forbidden or prescribed; but in the wide 
intervening field there was much that they might do, and an 
even larger field was left open in matters that were not touched 
at all by the Sacred Law because they had lain outside the 
experience of the fathers of Islam or had developed since their 

cependant plutot le domaine du droit public que celui du droit prive. Celui-ci 
subsiste, dans une large mesure, malgre ses imperfections et son absence de plan et 
de clarte. On s'est contente de combler ses lacunes les plus apparentes par des 
lois empruntees a la legislation occidentale, sans se soucier de la complete disparate 
creee par la reunion d'elements aussi heterogenes." 

^ D'Ohsson, i. 261, v. 11. 

2 Macdonald, 66; Hammer, Staatsverjassung, 12. 

' Heidborn, 69. 

* Hammer, Staatsverjassung, 14; Heidborn, 71. 


time. In case of undoubted transgression of the Sacred Law, 
the Moslem society, led by the Ulema, was considered absolved 
from allegiance to the sovereign and justified in exercising the 
right of revolution.' The Sheri was thus a written constitution 
for the Ottoman Empire, not subject to amendment, but capable 
of some sHght modification by judicial and juristic decision and 
interpretation. 2 The sultan had no power over it except as 
guardian, interpreter, and executor. The popular consent 
which allowed him to remain in authority did not recognize 
in him any right to amend or abolish any part of the Sacred 

The Ottoman sovereigns at first issued their new legislation 
as firmans, or ordinances,' but in the course of time they adopted 
from the Greek word xavwv, or rule, the word kanun, which they 
appHed to every general law. This Greek word as applied to 
law thus came to be used in contrary senses in the East and the 
West. To the canon law of the West corresponded the Sheri, 
and to the civil or rather the national law of the West, the 
Kamins. It is to be noted, however, that the Sheri had wider 
sway in Turkey in the sixteenth century than the canon law ever 
had in the West. Not only did it deal with a far larger field, 
but its judges seem sometimes to have administered the Kanuns 
also; they had, further, the support of the national government, 
whereas the rival courts of the great officials had ordinarily a 
very limited jurisdiction. The position of the ecclesiastical 
courts of the Christian subjects was much more like that of 
similar courts in the West."* 

The Kanuns were issued in accordance with a general formula 
of the Sacred Law. " The Imdm,'^ quotes Von Hammer, " has 
the right to make all civil and pohtical regulations which are 
demanded by prudence, the circumstances, and the public 

' Hammer, Staalsverfassung, 32; D'Ohsson, i. 291. 

2 Ricaut, 202; Stecn de Jehay, 13 ff. 

' Hammer, Staalsverfassung, 31. 

* In the course of time the development of civil courts in the Ottoman Empire 
has relegated the former judicial system to the position of ecclesiastical courts with 
jurisdiction similar to that of Christian church courts of the Middle Ages. See 
Macdonald, 113; and above, p. 154, note 2. 


welfare of the administration and the highest executive power." ^ 
The Kanuns of previous sultans were not binding upon a reigning 
sultan, except so far as he chose to put them in force; ^ but the 
necessity of preserving a continuous administration led ordinarily 
to the carrying over to a new reign of all Kanuns that were actu- 
ally in use. Reforms or readjustments were often accomplished 
by the revival, with modifications, of old Kanuns, rather than 
by wholly new legislation.^ 

The Kanuns dealt with matters of military, financial, feudal, 
criminal, and police law, and with the law of ceremonies.* All 
these were also covered in a measure by the Sacred Law, with 
two exceptions, — the feudal law and the law of ceremonies, 
which had to do with matters non-existent in the early Islamic 
state.5 Within these two fields the sultans had a free hand; 
in all others their Kanuns were strictly supplementary and 

The Kanuns were issued separately to meet special circum- 
stances. A number of them, when collected according to subject- 
matter or under the name of the sultan who issued them, con- 
stituted a Kanun-nameh, or book of laws. Each department 
of the government had its own Kanun-nameh, and the laws of 
taxation for each sanjak were collected into a separate group.^ 
It is incorrect to think of a Kanun-nameh of Mohammed II or 
of Suleiman as bearing any resemblance to the codes of Theo- 
dosius or Justinian. Not in magnitude, scope, character of 
contents, authorized unification, or prevaiHng authority can any 
comparison be made. The Kanun-nameh of Mohammed II 
seems from its opening words to have had his sanction as a 
collected body: " This is the Kanun of my fathers and ancestors, 
according to which my successors shall act from generation to 
generation." ^ These words themselves show, however, that the 
contents were not a unified body, but a collection of Kanuns 

1 Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 30. ^ Ibid. 31. 

^ For an example of this practice, see ibid. 343. 
* Ibid. 2. ^ Ibid. 29. ^ Heidbom, 90. 

' Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 31; in pages 219-327 are found the Kanun-namehs 
of all the sanjaks. 
8 Ibid. 87-101. 


issued at different times by former sultans as well as by the one 
who was reigning; and an examination of the contents bears out 
the statement. Nor does the collection possess completeness 
in any sense. The first of the three parts deals mainly with the 
relative rank of officials, the second with a miscellaneous lot of 
usages, chiefly ceremonial, the third with fines for some serious 
offenses and with the salaries of some great officials. The whole 
code is brief and shows great economy of legislation. 

The Legislation of Suleiman 

Suleiman's laws are not contained in a single Kanun-nameh. 
He is rightly named the Legislator by comparison with preceding 
Ottoman sultans, who were men of the sword and not of the pen; 
who, saying little, but doing much, had built up a great empire. 
With the empire, institutions which started from small begin- 
nings had also grown great; but, resting as they did on few writ- 
ten laws or ordinances, they had tended to reach a confused and 
complicated condition. The Ruling Institution itself, gathered 
closely about the sultans and constantly amended by them, 
was kept in excellent order; it needed no Kanun-nameh, and as a 
whole never had one, though many Kanuns of rank, ceremony, 
salary, and inheritance had reference to it. More remote 
matters, however, could not have so much attention. By the 
time of Suleiman's accession, for example, the feudal system, and 
the bearing of the various forms of taxation and land tenure 
on the subject population, had come into great disorder; criminal 
law also needed further development, and the market and gild 
regulations of the cities of the empire demanded attention. 
Egyptian affairs were likewise in wild confusion. Already 
disordered under the last Mameluke sultans/ they were now, by 
reason of the many deaths and confiscations in the war of con- 
quest and the setting-up of a new governing authority, impera- 
tively demanding settlement. In accordance with the needs 
of the time, therefore, Suleiman issued a large number of Kanuns, 
dealing especially with timars or fiefs, rayahs or subjects, cere- 

* Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 480. 


monies, and criminal and market regulations, and comprising a 
constitution for Egypt, the Kanun-nameh Misr} The latter 
appears to be the only body of Kanuns which the Legislator 
published as a whole, and which formed a complete system; 
issued in 1532,2 it was probably inspired by Ibrahim, following 
up his visit to Egypt in 1524.^ The collection of the great 
Mufti Ehu su'ud, which is called the Kanun-nameh of Suleiman, 
contains chiefly his ordinances in regard to the land tenure and 
taxes of the subject Christians, together with a number of laws 
designed to regulate the feudal system, and a few relating to 
judges and legal processes.* Suleiman was great as a legislator 
only by comparison with his predecessors. He set nothing in 
final order; and the ground had to be gone over again within 
fifty years after his death, in the reign of Achmet I.^ His legisla- 
tion was doubly hindered : first, by the conservatism of his people 
and his religion, which alike believed that the old ways were 
the best, and which made radical departures practically impos- 
sible; and, second, by the weakness inherent in despotic legisla- 
tion, in which the distance of the law-giver from the subjects 
affected makes true adaptation to circumstances and complete 
enforcement impossible of attainment. Because of the first 
hindrance, most of Suleiman's laws professed an attempt to 
restore a former better state of affairs. As a matter of fact, 

^ Hammer, Staatsverfassung: 101-143, the Kanun-nameh Misr; 143-162, police 
and market laws of Suleiman; 187-211, Kanuni Rayah; 337-434, Kammi Timar. 
Hammer does not make it clear where he found particular Kanuns, or how com- 
pletely he has presented the originals; nor has he attempted to distinguish Kanuns 
of Suleiman from those of earlier and later sultans. The Kanuni Rayah was not 
made into a formal Kanun-nameh till 1614 {ibid. 211). See Heidborn, 91-92. 

2 Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 142. 

3 Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 39. 

* A translation of a portion of the table of contents of this collection, as found in 
the manuscript Fluegel No. 1816, in the Imperial Library at Vienna, is given in 
Appendix iii, below. This shows by comparison with the headings in Hammer's 
Staatsverfassung, 396-424, that Hammer has there translated at least one-half 
of the manuscript, though he appears to attribute these sections to the Kanun- 
nameh of Achmet I (ibid. 384). The table of contents of the latter collection of 
laws is very different (see next note). 

^ The Kanun-nameh of Achmet I, issued in 1619, contained collections of 
(i) feudal laws; (2) laws of the army, the navy, the outer and the inner service; 
(3) laws of police, finance, and fiefs. See Hammer, Staatsverfassung, pp. xviii, xix. 


they probably did not contain much more than a statement in 
black and white, with necessary simplifications, of a confused 
body of practice that had grown up gradually, formulated in 
parts by the ordinances of his predecessors. Because of the 
second hindrance to his legislation, Suleiman was not able to put 
into satisfactory and enduring order matters of such vital interest 
to the people as the feudal and financial systems. Conferring 
only with a few religious men and a limited number of high 
officials, aside from the shut-in members of his inner service, 
he could not possibly know how his regulations would bear 
upon the holders of small fiefs and the Christian tenants and tax- 
payers in remote parts of the empire. The officials who formula- 
ted the Kanuns for him were only a little better able than he 
to judge of such matters; and the persons chiefly affected by 
the laws were not consulted at all. Moreover, after issuing 
his laws the sultan could not follow them up to see to their 
execution. In later times, orders to readjust land titles were 
sometimes given, but with little further result than to enrich 
officials by the bribes which they accepted for declaring titles 
good, or by their confiscations of property on which the owners 
could not pay enough.^ Although official corruption was un- 
doubtedly not so bad under Suleiman as it became later, the sus- 
piciously great wealth of high officials like Ibrahim and Rustem 
and the fact that fiefs and finances were in worse disorder than 
ever, after no great time had elapsed, gives evidence that his 
laws were ngt faithfully enforced.- 

Not much need be said about Adet and UrJ. Adet, or custom, 
corresponds primarily to the body of unwritten regulations 
under which the Turks of the steppe lands lived. As in most 
semi-civilized societies, it was at once far wider in scope, more 
rigid, and more binding, as enforced by popular opinion, than 
written laws in more advanced societies usually are. Something 
of these primitive characteristics were carried over into the 
Ottoman nation, with all its acquisition of new membership and 

' This statement is based on information obtained from a gentleman long 
resident in Turkey. 
* Zinkeisen, iii. i6i ff. 


incorporation of useful ideas. The conservative character of 
Islam strengthened the tendency to perpetuate established 
custom. It has been remarked of the caliphate that in no other 
state have little causes near the beginning produced such great 
effects, because of the tendency to follow precedent minutely.^ 
A very similar observation has been made in regard to the 
Ottoman state: " The changeless perpetuity of a primitive 
institution appears at every step in Ottoman history." ^ What 
has been shall be, was a precept observed by the Ottomans 
in matters small and great. The principles of the Sacred Law, 
the accepted Kanuns, and the local Adet of towns, districts, 
and manors had almost equally binding force. In fact, to the 
unlettered citizen they probably formed one indistinguishable 
whole, which seemed almost a feature of the ordering of nature. 
Although such sentiments tended strongly toward stabihty, 
they were a great hindrance to improvement. The early Otto- 
mans had adopted new ideas and institutions with great readi- 
ness; but, since they held to them with equal tenacity, in the 
course of time they had no room left for the admission of more 
novelties. As fusion and combination were processes little 
understood, the tendency was thus toward stagnation, inter- 
rupted violently and for short periods when evils became too 
great to be endured. But, while the disposition to adhere 
to the established order was exceedingly strong among the 
Ottomans, Urf, the will of the sovereign was recognized to be 
superior to Adet, much as the Creator was held to be superior 
to the ordinary operations of nature. The sultan's will, however, 
penetrated but seldom so far as to the masses of the people. 

Adet supplemented the Sacred Law and the Kanuns in matters 
which they did not cover.^ It differed from district to district, 
as it does in the West. Urf was the sovereign will of the reigning 
sultan ; it was the seat and organ of sovereignty, being absolute 
to the full extent in which, according to the Sacred Law, God has 
delegated the right of legislation and rule to human beings.* 
The will of a past sultan could prevail only if it had been expressed 

^ Macdonald, lo. ' Hammer, Staaisverfassung, 32. 

2 Hammer, Geschichte, i. 96. * D'Ohsson, i. 258 ff. 


in a Kanun and was enforced by the reigning sovereign. It was 
by the expression of Urf that Kanuns were issued or annulled 
and that Adet was replaced by Kanun. So long as the Sacred 
Law was untouched, Urf might be exercised oppressively, 
cruelly, or unworthily, without giving any one the right to 
resist.' Against the Sheri, however, it had no force; any attempt 
to exercise it thus was an invitation to disaster.^ 

Suleiman was never in danger from transgression of the 
Sacred Law. A devout Moslem, whose piety increased in old 
age, he took seriously his duty of enforcing its provisions, not 
even hesitating at such as were unpopular, like the prohibition 
of wine-drinking,^ or at such as demanded self-sacrifice on his 
part, like the disapproval of musical instruments and silver 
plate.^ If he did not enact measures directly to increase the 
welfare of the common people, his attempts to regulate the 
tax and tenancy systems tended to hghten their condition. 
Moreover, he used severe measures to put down extortion; 
and he strove by his market and police regulations to maintain 
justice, fairness, and order.* 

The Viziers 

Ottoman writers represented their government under the figure 
of a tent supported by four lofty pillars,^ — the Viziers, the 
Kaziaskers, the Dejterdars, and the Nishanjis. It is not safe 
to press comparisons too far, however; for, as a matter of fact, 
the pillars did not bear equal weight. All four groups of officials 
were necessary, but they were not of Hke importance: the 

1 " The dignity of the Imamate does not absolutely demand that the Imam be 
just, virtuous, or irreproachable, or that he be the most eminent and the most 
excellent of the human beings of his time " (from the Midteka, quoted by D'Ohsson, 
i. 271); "Vices or tyranny in an Imam do not demand his deposition" (^ibid. 
288). This is the doctrine of orthodox Islam, as the outcome of the early 
Kharijite schisms. The Shiites are more critical as regards their sovereigns, who 
are not regarded as Imams. 

* ', Staalsverfassitng, 32; D'Ohsson, i. 2gi. 

' Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 2>l^~Z2)Z\ D'Ohsson, iv. 50 fif. 

* Busbecq, i. 331; D'Ohsson, iv. 103, 280. 
^ Hammer, Geschichtr, iii. 71, 486. 

' Ibid. ii. 216-217, 223. 


Nishanjis were far less esteemed than the others; the grand 
vizier, on the other hand, carried, from the time of Suleiman, 
so much greater a burden than any one else that he might be 
compared to a central pillar which supported the entire tent. 

The viziers were the chief councillors of the sultan for peace 
and war, administration and justice; and they dehberated all 
important questions in the meetings of the Divan, which will 
be described later. The word vizier means burden-bearer, the 
idea being that an official so designated lifted from the shoulders 
of the sovereign the burden of state, and bore it upon his own 
shoulders. The number of viziers was not rigidly fixed, but in 
the reign of Suleiman, there were ordinarily four, that being a 
sacred number with both Turks and Moslems. ^ All bore the title 
pasha, which was sparingly used in the sixteenth century. 
Ordinary viziers had no regular responsibilities besides their 
function as councillors; they had great incomes from both 
regular and irregular sources, and kept large estabHshments 
modeled on that of their master. ^ 

In the time of Suleiman, the office of grand \dzier reached 
the cHmax of a noteworthy development. Whereas formerly 
this official had been the senior member of the sultan's board 
of advisers, primus inter pares, he now became a personage far 
above his fellow-viziers. His position came to differ from theirs 
not merely in degree, but in kind, a difference typified by the 
fact that, in reporting to Suleiman after the meetings of the 
Divan, none spoke but the grand vizier.^ This development 
of the office seems to have resulted from Suleiman's willingness 
to entrust much power to a chosen instrument, who would thus 
relieve him of many of the immense cares of empire. Ibrahim 
first held his master's confidence for many years. Later 
Rustem came to full power, supported by the wife and the 
favorite daughter of the monarch. In Suleiman's last years 
he left weU-nigh everything to Ali and to Mohammed SokolH.'* 

1 lUd. i. 565, ii. 223. ^ See above, pp. 58, 59. 

' A. Barbarigo, 155; D. Barbarigo, 26; Bernardo, 326; Erizzo, 136. See also 
Chesneau, 41. 
* Barbaro, 319. 


The grand vizier thus came practically to wield the sovereign 
power of the Ottoman state: the sultan might almost discharge 
his mind of public care. That is why it became easy for Selim II 
and his successors to withdraw into the harem, and devote most 
of their energies to carousing and debauchery. Had the position 
of the grand vizier been more secure, this change might have 
been for the good of the Ottoman state, as alTording a means 
of supplementing the scanty abilities of weak sultans by those 
of the ablest men of the empire. In the case of Mohammed 
Sokolli, and of the Kiuprilis three generations later, such was 
to be the fact. More often, however, the place of grand vizier 
was to be so thoroughly at the mercy of harem intrigue that 
only a master of this art could retain his precarious position by 
immense efforts, such as would leave a mere remnant of his 
energies free for the service of the state. The increase under 
Suleiman of the relative power of the grand vizier was thus a 
dangerous and eventually a disastrous development. 

It is clear that the grand vizier fully deserved the name of 
burden-bearer. Whereas even so earnest a sovereign as Sulei- 
man appears to have had a sufficiently leisurely life in time of 
peace, in spite of his great responsibilities as head of a despotic 
government,^ his grand viziers must have been kept fully occu- 
pied. He that has been called the greatest of all viziers, the 
Nizam al-mulk, spoke out of his experience when he said: " It 
is necessary that the sovereign consider with his vizier affairs 
of state and all that concerns the army, the finances and general 
prosperity. He must needs give attention to the measures 
which should be taken against the enemies of the empire and 
everything that relates to the subject. All these matters give 
rise to a great many annoyances and preoccupations and put 
the spirit to torture, for they do not leave a single instant of 
repose." ^ 

The grand vizier represented the sultan as head of the civil 
and military administration and as supreme judge.^ He ap- 

^ Postel, iii. passim, gives various glimpses of his life. 
' Siasset Nanthh, 163. 

' The position and duties of the grand vizier at a later date are described at 
length by Hammer, Staatsvenraltuug, 79-101, and by D'Ohsson, vii. 177-189. 


pointed the highest officials in these departments. He presided 
over long sessions of the Divan four days in the week. Some 
of his other duties, cares, and obligatory ceremonies appear in 
the catalogue of his ten special prerogatives: ^ — 

1. He had the care of the imperial seal, with which, on the 
days of the Divan, the doors of the treasury and chancery were 
sealed. The delivery of the seal was the symbol of investiture 
with the office of grand vizier. 

2. He might hold a Divan of his own at his palace in the after- 
noon. This was an important session of court at which many 
cases, both great and small, were decided.^ 

3. He had the right to be escorted by the Chaush-hashi and 
all the Chaushes from his palace to and from the sultan's palace. 

4. He received visits of state from the Kaziaskers and DeJ- 
terdars every Wednesday. 

5. He was honored by the appearance of the officers of the 
imperial stirrup every Monday in the Divan. 

6. He went in solemn procession on Friday to the mosque, 
escorted by the Chaushes, the Muteferrika, and others of the 
outside service in turbans of ceremony. 

7. He received a weekly visit from the Agha of the Janis- 
saries, and a monthly visit from the other viziers. 

8. He inspected the city of Constantinople and its markets, 
escorted by the judge of Constantinople, the Agha of the Janis- 
saries, the provost of the markets, and the prefect of the city. 

9. He received a weekly visit of state from various magis- 
trates and Sanjak Beys. 

10. He was honored at the two Bairams with official felicita- 
tions from the other viziers, the Dejterdars, the Beys, the magis- 
trates, and the generals of the army. 

Customary ceremonies alone were evidently enough to absorb 
a very large part of the grand vizier's time; but they were a 
mere incident to the vast amount of administrative and judicial 
business that demanded his attention. It is not to be wondered 

^ Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 226; taken from the Turkish historian Aali and 
referring to the time of Mohammed II. 
^ Postel, i. 123. 


at that the period of service in this office was short, on the aver- 
age. The post was a dangerous one; for the possessor, with all 
his greatness, was the sultan's kul, and liable to summary exe- 
cution if he failed to give satisfaction. Of some two hundred 
men who served as grand viziers in the course of five hundred 
years, about twenty were executed at the time of their deposi- 

Suleiman's grand viziers held office for comparatively long 
periods.^ Seven, taken together, served him forty years; Mo- 
hammed Piri Pasha, whom he found in office at his accession, 
served in all six years, and Mohammed Sokolli, whom he left 
in office at his death, served fifteen years. Thus in sixty-two 
years there were only nine in all. Three of them deserve to be 
called great, — Ibrahim for his splendor, his breadth of mind, 
and his continuance in favor, Rustem for his financial shrewd- 
ness, and Mohammed Sokolli for his statesmanship. These 
three also served the longest, — Ibrahim thirteen years, Rustem 
fifteen years in two periods, and Mohammed Sokolli fifteen 
years without a break. Four of the nine ended their service at 
death, two were deposed and executed, three were simply de- 
posed. All except Mohammed Piri Pasha were Christian 
renegades, who had risen as slaves to the highest honor of the 

The Kaziaskers were, under the sultan and the grand vizier, 
the heads of the judiciary of the empire. They sat in the Divan, 
where they ranked next to the grand vizier. Since they belonged 
to the Moslem Institution, discussion of their duties will be 
postponed to the next chapter. 

The Defterdars, or Treasurers ^ 

The great labor of accounting for the receipts and expendi- 
tures of the Ruhng Institution in practically all its capacities 

^ Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 5. 

2 Ibid. iii. 793. 

' The position of the Dcflcrdars about the year 1800 is discussed in D'Ohsson, 
vii. 261 ff., and in Hammer, Staatsvenualtung, 137 S. Contemporary accounts are 
found in Menavino, 168; Ramberti, below, p. 247; Junis Bey, below, p. 265; 
Pastel, iii. 66-70. 


was under the care of the two principal Defterdars, or treasurers, 
one for RumeHa and one for Anatolia, aided by two of lower 
rank, one for Aleppo and the southwest and one for the Danubian 
countries.^ The principal Defterdars were men of great position, 
with large incomes and households, and possessing the right of 
audience with the sultan in regard to matters of revenue.- Under 
them were twenty-five departments or bureaus, as instituted 
by the Conqueror, each with a chief, or KJwjagan, who directed 
a number of clerks of different grades. Between these and the 
Defterdars were several intermediate officials, of whom the most 
important were the two Rusnamehjis, or book-keepers. The 
total personnel of the treasury department numbered more than 
eight hundred.^ 

A list of the twenty-five bureaus, or kalems, with a statement 
of the provinces of each, will give an excellent idea of the com- 
pHcated financial arrangements of the Ottoman government/ 
Taken as a whole, they show in outline the economic substructure 
of the Ruling Institution, as well as that of the Moslem Institu- 
tion, with exception of the sultan's private treasury, out of 
which most of the inner service of the court was paid, and of the 
provisions for the officers and judges of local government : — 

I. The Buyuk Rusnameh Kalemi, or greater book-keeping 
bureau, was the central office to which all the accounts were 
brought from the other bureaus. Once or twice a year it drew 

^ The word means primarily " book-keeper." It is derived either from the 
Greek word 5i(pdipa or from a similar Persian word (Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 
228). Ramberti (below, p. 247) mentions but two Defterdars, one who took care 
of the revenue from all the Asiatic provinces, Egypt, and the Danubian countries, 
and received ten thousand ducats a year, and perquisites, the other who took care of 
the revenue from the rest of the European dominions, received six thousand ducats 
and perquisites, and was governor of Constantinople in the sultan's absence. 

2 Spandugino, 98. 

' Junis Bey (below, p. 265) says that the Defterdars had 200 slaves each for their 
courts. Then he speaks of 50 scribes, each with 15 or 20 slaves, and of 25 secretaries 
who must have been the heads of the bureaus, and who had slaves. Next he 
mentions the two Rusnamekjis, who had 20 or 25 companions under them. Ram- 
berti, 247, says that the first Defterdar had 1000 slaves in his household, 
and the second 500. Postel, iii. 69, mentions only one Rusnamehji, but clearly 
states that he is over the chiefs of the twenty-five bureaus. 

* D'Ohsson, vii. 264-273; Hammer, Staatsverwaltung, 145-170. 


up a statement of the finances of the government. The income 
of this bureau seems to have been the greatest of all.' 

2. The Bash Miihasebch Kalemi, or head bureau of accounts, 
was the largest of all in numerical strength, and the second in 
income. It kept account of tithes and taxes from the sanjaks, 
of munitions of war of all kinds, of the pay of the garrisons of 
Rumelia and Anatolia, of the receipts and expenses of the intend- 
ants of buildings, the admiralty, the kitchen, forage,^ the mint, 
the three powder factories at Constantinople, Salonika, and 
Gallipoli, and of the inspector of artillery. This bureau received 
copies of all contracts made in the public service, and it registered 
and countersigned the entire vast number of orders on the 

3. The Anatoli Muhasehesi Kalemi, or bureau of accounts 
for Anatolia (though it was by no means confined to Anatolia 
in its scope), kept accounts for certain domanial lands, for the 
garrisons in the Aegean Islands, and for the pensions of veteran 

4. The Suvari Mukahelesi Kalemi, or bureau of control for 
the cavalry, kept account of the salaries of officials of the inner 
service, of the Kapujis, of the imperial stables, and of all the 
Spahis of the Porte. 

5. The Sipahi Kalemi, or bureau of the Spahis, issued orders 
for the pay of the Spahis proper, which required to be counter- 
signed by the head of the fourth bureau. 

6. The Silihdar Kalemi, or bureau of Silihdars, was similar 
to the fifth bureau, except that it was concerned with the 5////;- 

7. The Haremein Muhasebeh Kalemi, or bureau of accounts 
of the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina, kept the books of the 
religious endowments or vakfs of the imperial mosques, of the 
salaries of all persons connected with these mosques, of all other 
religious endowments in Constantinople and elsewhere in Rume- 
lia, and of all Rumelian property dedicated to the Holy Cities. 
All certificates of nomination to service in connection with 

' It certainly was in 1660. Cf. Hammer, Staalsvcrd'allinig, 170. 
^ D'Ohsson, vii. 265, omits the intendants of buildings and forage. 


mosques in Rumelia were prepared here, to be presented to the 
tenth bureau for the issuance of diplomas. 

8. The Jizyeh Muhasebesi Kalemi, or bureau of accounts 
for the capitation tax, issued orders yearly for the payment of 
this tax according to the estimated number of adult male subject 
Christians. A specified number of these orders was sent to each 
district, which was held responsible for a corresponding revenue.^ 
The income of this bureau was only a little less than that of the 
second bureau. 

9. The Mevkufat Kalemi, or bureau of tributes, kept account 
of taxes paid in kind, of the quantity of grain in the pubHc 
storehouses of Constantinople and the border fortresses, and 
of the grants of supplies from these stores to the several army 
corps and to the households of mihtary and civil kullar who were 
required to follow the army. 

10. The Maliyeh Kalemi, or chancery bureau of the treasury 
department, issued diplomas to all employees of mosques who 
brought certificates of nomination from the seventh and twen- 
tieth bureaus, and to all administrators of religious endowments 
and pensioners upon such funds; and it drew up for the approval 
of the sultan and the countersignature of the Dejterdars all 
firmans, or administrative orders, that concerned the treasury 

11. The Kuchuk Rusnameh Kalemi, or lesser book-keeping 
bureau, kept the accounts of the head Kapujis, the stewards, 
and the marine. 

12. The Piadeh Mukabelesi Kalemi, or bureau of control 
for the infantry, kept the books of the Janissaries and the auxili- 
ary corps of the standing army. 

13. The Kuchuk Evkaf Muhasebesi Kalemi, or lesser bureau 
of accounts of religious endowments, kept the accounts of all 
pensioners and attendants of the endowed pubhc hospitals, 
soup-kitchens, insane asylums, and the like. 

14. The Buyuk Kalaa Kalemi, or greater bureau of fortresses, 
kept record of the garrisons and of the mihtia who were liable 
for the service of the fortresses of the Danube regions. 

* D'Ohsson, vii. 236. 


15. The Kuchuk Kalaa Kalemi, or lesser bureau of fortresses, 
kept like records for fortresses in Albania and the Morea. 

16. The Maaden Mukalaasi Kalemi, or bureau of mine leases, 
kept account of the tribute required from gipsies, of the receipts 
from gold and silver mines in Europe and Asia, of the tributes 
from Moldavia and Wallachia, and of the customs duties of 
Constantinople, Adrianople, Smyrna, Gallipoli, Chios, and other 

17. The Saliyaneh Mukataasi Kalemi, or bureau of salaries, 
arranged the yearly pay of the captains of the fleet, and of the 
Khan of the Crimea and some of his officials. 

18. The Khaslar Mukataasi Kalemi, or bureau of domanial 
leases, kept the books of the domain lands whose revenues were 
assigned to the chief ladies of the harem, including the Sultana 
Valideh and the sultan's daughters, and to the high officials of the 

19. The Bash Mukataasi Kalemi, or head bureau of leases, 
cared for the revenues from the domains in some lower Danubian 
lands, from the rice fields of Eastern RumeUa, from various 
salt works, from the fisheries of the Aegean and Black seas, 
and from the forests. 

20. The Haremein Mukataasi Kale?ni, or bureau of leases 
of the Holy Cities, was charged with regard to Anatolia, as was 
the seventh bureau with regard to Rumelia. 

21. The Istambol Mukataasi Kalemi, or bureau of leases 
for Constantinople, kept account of the domanial leases of 
Salonika, Tirhala, and Brusa, the market dues of Constantinople 
and Adrianople, the revenues from silk and from the manufacture 
of articles in gold and silver. 

22. The Brusa Mukataasi Kalemi, or bureau of the leases of 
Brusa, kept account of the domanial leases in the neighborhood 
of that city. 

1 Charges for the right to plant and transport tobacco were later assigned to the 
care of this bureau. See Hammer, Slaatsvcncalliiug, 156. 

* At a later date, when the expenses of the harem became greater, the customs 
duties of certain regions, the tobacco revenue from Syria and Arabia, and the tax 
on wool and yarn were also assigned to this bureau {ibid. 158). 


23. The Avlonia Mukataasi Kalenii, kept similar accounts for 
the island of Euboea, or Negropont. 

24. The Kajffa Mukataasi Kalemi kept similar accounts for 
Kaffa and certain domain lands of Anatolia. 

25. The Tarishji Kalemi, or bureau of dates, dated all public 
documents that came from the other bureaus, and, at least in 
later times, prepared assignments on the pubhc revenues on 
behalf of creditors of the government. 

Supplementary bureaus, attached to some of the others, 
were the bureau of confiscations and escheats to the crown, 
the bureau of the tax on animals, and the bureau of the Christian 
churches and monasteries. An additional office of great impor- 
tance, called the Oda of the treasury department, attended to the 
correspondance of the Defterdars, to their reports to the grand 
vizier and the sultan, and to the forwarding of leases for sections 
of the crown lands. Attached to the treasury department 
was a special court under a judge appointed by the Kaziasker 
of Rumeha, which was designed to adjust disputes between the 
department and private citizens. 

A Defter-emini, or book-keeper intendant, kept the records of 
the fief-holders and administered their estates during vacancies. 
He was well paid, and had a staff of clerks.^ He appears to 
have been independent of the Defterdars. Two household 
treasurers were in charge of the sultan's personal funds: the 
eunuch Khazinehdar-bashi, already mentioned as chief of the 
treasury chamber of pages, guarded the treasure stored there, 
and paid the members of the inner service; a second official, 
under the authority of the former and apparently called by the 
same name, attended to the business of the sultan's private 
purse outside the palace.- The sultan had in the castle of the 
Seven Towers, or Yedi-kuleh, another deposit of treasure which 
was supposed to be very large. ^ 

1 Junis Bey (below, p. 266) and Postal, iii. 70, call this official Defterdar-emini . 
His department, in three bureaus, became a record office of land titles (D'Ohsson, 
vii. 193). It may have had this wider function in the sixteenth century. 

2 Spandugino, 65, 119; Ramberti, below, pp. 244, 248. 
^ Menavino, 182; Postel, iii. 70. 


The characteristics of the treasury scheme give evidence 
that it developed by a gradual growth without systematic 
revision at any time. As new occasions for expenditure arose, 
they were put in charge of various bureaus; as new provinces 
or other sources of fresh income appeared, they were either 
assigned to existing bureaus or given to new ones created for 
the purpose. The bureaus of Istambol, Avlona, and Kaffa 
evidently date from the time of the Conqueror; most of the 
others must have been older. That the conquests of Selim 
and Suleiman were not administered from Constantinople 
is evident from a study of the bureaus, and from the separate 
listing of the revenues from Syria, Mesopotamia, and Egypt in 
contemporary estimates. Since the authorities give no source 
of revenue for the first bureau, which nevertheless seems to 
have had the greatest income of all, it is probable that the 
tribute from the later conquests was paid into that department, 
and by it apportioned to bureaus of expenditure, such as the 
fourth, the eleventh, and the twelfth. It is worthy of notice 
to what an extent the sources of revenue were ear-marked for 
expenditure. The second bureau received the tithes and taxes 
of the sanjaks, and paid them out for munitions of war, the 
maintenance of garrisons, and the expenses of the intendants 
of the outside service of the court. The third bureau received 
the revenue from certain domanial lands, and supported the 
garrisons of the Aegean Islands and soldiers who had been pen- 
sioned. The eighteenth bureau administered domanial lands 
for the support of the harem and high officials. The ninth 
bureau received and delivered to the army taxes paid in kind. 
The seventh, thirteenth, and twentieth bureaus took revenues 
from lands assigned by religious endowment for the support of 
the Moslem Institution and certain beneficiaries, and paid them 
out as stipulated by the givers. 

Instead of one treasury, into which all revenues should come 
and out of which all disbursements should be made, there were 
fifteen or more bureaus which received, and as many which spent; 
and some of those which both received and spent were, except 
for the oversight of the first bureau, practically independent 


institutions. A distinct tendency toward decentralization of 
management is manifest. Whatever could be set off by itself 
was made as nearly independent as possible, subject only to 
inspection and supervision. This policy undoubtedly resulted 
from the despotic character of the government. Since one 
man, the founder of a despotic state, can attend to only a Hmited 
number of duties, he is forced, as his power develops, to assign 
more and more responsibilities to subordinates. The method 
which most relieves the central management is to entrust definite 
duties to definite groups of men, to support these with sufficient 
revenues, and then to leave them to themselves. If things go 
wrong in any department, the central authority intervenes, 
punishes severely those who were responsible, sets things to 
rights forcibly, and again leaves the department to itself. The 
system is very dangerous unless the central management can be 
kept constantly strong and able to assume full control promptly 
and effectively. This was the case in the Ottoman Empire 
until after the time of Suleiman. 

A yet stronger tendency toward decentralization appeared 
in connection with local government. Each Beylerbey had his 
own mufti, reis effendi, and defterdar, with a considerable body 
of clerks, who advised him, recorded his decisions, attended 
to the revenues from the estates assigned for the support of his 
household, and kept account of the fief-holders in his dominion. ^ 
Each Sanjak Bey again had his group of assistants, with similar 
duties on a lesser scale.^ Some generations later the extension 
of this decentralization was to become a great evil. 

The duties of the bureaus of the treasury department reveal 
clearly the limited purposes and activities of the Ottoman 
government. The support of the Ruhng Institution as standing 
army, court, and government was provided for; the revenues 
assigned by former sultans and by private individuals to the 
support of the Moslem Institution in its religious and charitable 
aspects were supervised; the navy was provided for; and the 

1 Ricaut, 103, Ramberti and Junis Bey (below, pp. 256, 271) say that the 
Beylerbey of Rumelia had 100 scribes. 

2 Spandugino, 148; Postal, iii. 63. 


Khan of the Crimea was pensioned. But nothing was done for 
the great mass of the population. They were expected to 
furnish the means for these activities; and the duty of the most 
conscientious sovereign was fully performed if he provided that 
they should labor unmolested, and should not be burdened with 
taxation beyond their ability to pay. Under a strong ruling 
hand the Ottoman system easily maintained order through 
the standing and feudal armies, but it did not so easily regulate 
the burden of taxation. This subject deserves special considera- 

Taxation in the Ottoman Empire^ 

A distinction was drawn between taxes authorized by the 
Sacred Law, which were called legal, and all others, which were 
called arbitrary as depending on the will of the sovereign. The 
early Islamic system of taxation, taken over, it would seem, 
from the Sassanian Persian Empire,^ was extremely simple. 
No taxes were laid except on land and on persons. The lands 
of Arabia and Bosra were charged with a tithe, or ^ushr, of their 
produce. Other conquered lands were more heavily burdened, 
being assessed with a khardj, or tax payable in money, and with 
a share of the produce, which might be from the tenth to the 
half according to the fertility of the land. The tax on persons, 
the jizyeh, was limited to a poll or capitation tax on adult male 
subjects who were not Moslems. The ^ushr, the khardj, and the 
jizyeh were the only taxes recognized by the Sacred Law. 

Other methods of taxation were utilized almost from the 
beginning. When, with the conquest of Syria and Egypt, the 
Byzantine Empire was entered, it did not seem best to sweep 
away the customs, tolls, and other impositions which drew 
revenue from trade. As such taxes did not rest on a constitu- 
tional foundation, they were discouraged by some legists; but 
they became more and more necessary as a worldly government 
developed, and as the revenues from a large part of the land 
were set aside for religious foundations. 

* This subject is treated in Hammer, Geschichle, iii. 478-4S3, and Staatsverfas- 
sung, 180-337; D'Ohsson, v. 15-37; and, as concerns the legal taxes, in Belin, 
La Propriety Foncicre. 

* Hammer, Slaalsverfassiing, 37 ff. 


The early Islamic state also had a vast source of revenue 
in booty. Four-fifths of this went to the generals and soldiers 
actuall}^ concerned in conquest; the remaining fifth was sent to 
Medina. After the capital had been removed from Arabia, 
the " Prophet's fifth " was still claimed for the support of legists 
and judges. 

The Islamic system, with its distinction of legal and arbitrary 
taxes, its rules regulating the distribution of booty, and its 
custom of devoting revenues to religious foundations, was taken 
up by the Ottoman state. At the same time the feudal system, 
based upon both Seljuk and Byzantine example, was appUed 
to a large part of the lands conquered from Christians, an ar- 
rangement which yielded considerable revenue for the support 
of individuals; and a host of Seljuk and Byzantine imposts 
lengthened the list of arbitrary taxes. Much land was retained 
as imperial domain, perhaps in many cases land that was already 
domain of the Byzantine emperors and other rulers whom the 
Ottomans dispossessed. The conquests in Cilicia, Syria, Mes- 
opotamia, and Egypt were left under the old regulations, with 
some clearing away of arbitrary taxes, and preparing of cadasters 
in the Turkish language.^ Hungary was carefully cadastered, 
to be administered thus during a century and a half.^ Special 
arrangements and exemptions were made for the foreign colo- 
nists, of a character similar to old Byzantine and Saracen treaties 
and agreements. 

As a result of all this, the system of taxation in the Ottoman 
Empire was very complex. It contained a great variety of 
taxes, — on persons, land, trade, animals, produce, mines, 
markets, and the like, — differing from sanjak to sanjak and 
from town to town; and it collected its income by various 
methods and through various agencies. The details of the 
system cannot be considered here, but a few general observations 
may be made. 

1 Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 523, iii. 65. 

2 Ibid. iii. 266. According to Heidborn, 339, the registering of the lands of 
the different regions of the Ottoman Empire, begun in 1548 by Suleiman's order 
and completed after some 55 years, remains to the present time the basis of land 
titles in Turkey. 


Until the time of Mohammed II the revenues were adminis- 
tered directly by the treasury department, but this method led 
to so many malversations at the cost of the government that he 
changed the system to one of tax-farming. By this means the 
government became sure of its money. The malversations 
did not stop, however, but went on now at the cost of the tax- 
payers.^ The taxes of regions of large size were sold by the 
treasury, usually to high officers among the kullar, who did not 
intend to collect the taxes themselves, but sold them again by 
sections. This process might be repeated several times, till in 
the end it would probably be, not Ottomans, but Christians 
and Jews who applied the screws to the unfortunate subjects.- 
The amount wrung from them might easily be double what 
the government received. 

The strongly conservative tendency of the Ottoman people 
showed markedly in regard to taxation. The taxes that had 
been agreed upon of old were paid, but a general revision of the 
system in the direction of uniformity was never thought of. 
The revenues of the empire were thus extremely inelastic.^ A 
special war contribution might be laid, as was done by Suleiman 
before Mohacs,^ and requisitions might be made upon the 
inhabitants of a region through which the army passed; but a 
permanent increase of revenue was practically impossible. 
The tendency was in the other direction. As the value of money 
declined, not without assistance from the sultans,^ all revenues 
payable in agreed sums declined likewise. Payments in kind 
from agricultural products may have increased for a time under 
local peace and security, but in the end they were to diminish 
also. Treaties with Western nations were so favorable to the 
latter commercially as to prevent the receipt of extensive rev- 

' D'Ohsson, vii. 242. 

2 Spandugino, 144. Postel, iii. 65, says that the tithes (apparently those reve- 
nues not sold in the lump or left for individual collection) were collected by 
Christian receivers {Ioks Chresliens), who delivered them to the Kadis, and these 
to the Sanjak, he to the Beylerbey, and the Beylerbcy to the Dejterdars. 

» D'Ohsson, vii. 258. 

* Hammer, Geschichle, iii. 471. It was a poll-tax of 15 aspers on each male 

^ Spandugino, 57. 


enues from foreign customs duties; and such trade must have 
increased with the growth of the empire and the increasing 
luxury of the court. But on the whole the sultan's receipts 
from taxation, aside from the effect of new conquests, and allow- 
ing for the fluctuations in tithes due to good and bad harvests, 
were probably not far from stationary. 

The receipts from the sultan's fifth of booty taken in war, 
which included slaves, must have been considerable up to the 
end of Suleiman's reign. They were all devoted, however, 
to the support of the Moslem Institution. ^ Tribute came in 
from several countries, as Moldavia, Wallachia, Transylvania, 
Ragusa, from Venice for Cyprus, and after 1547 from Austria 
for Hungary. This was forced up whenever possible as punish- 
ment for unrest, and was shared by the sultan with high officials.^ 
Confiscations of the property of executed persons brought 
several great sums to Suleiman. The estates of kullar who 
died without children, and the tithes of the estates of those 
who left children, constituted a valuable though irregular rev- 
enue.^ The great treasure of the prince of Gujarat came to 
Suleiman after the prince's death.* Something was realized 
from the administration of the estates of fief-holders who died 
without sons; but the lands of these had to be granted again 
before long in order to keep up the strength of the feudal army.^ 
Fees connected with the administration of justice went directly 
to the support of the judges and other officials concerned.^ 
With regular taxation nearly stationary, the increase from extra- 
ordinary sources did not keep pace with advancing expendi- 

Suleiman's expenses grew particularly in regard to the fleet 
and the household. Some Western writers remarked that the 
sultan was put to no expense by war, since his standing army 
required to be paid in peace as well as in war, and since the 

^ Hammer, Geschichle, i. 167, 592. 

2 By Kanun of Mohammed II: Hammer, Slaatsverfassung, 99. 

3 Postel, iii. 68. 

* Hammer, Ceschichte, iii. 472. ^ Hammer, Geschichle, i. 23/. 

6 Postel, iii. 70. ' Ibid. iii. 471. 



remainder of his troops came at their own expense.' It is true 
that his additional expenditure was small as compared with 
that for a contemporary Western army, built from a small 
permanent nucleus by the hiring of mercenaries and the levy 
of national troops which had to be supported by the treasury; 
but the sultan had to replace large quantities of munitions of 
war that were used up or destroyed, and great numbers of 
animals of transport. Moreover, the Janissaries and Spahis 
had to be placated at times by presents, and it was more expensive 
to feed the army in the field than in the barracks. But the 
fleet was a great and growing expense, despite the extent to 
which it was supported by raiding and by revenues from North 
Africa; ^ and the luxury and splendor of the Magnificent Sultan's 
court grew apace. In spite of fresh conquests and large confisca- 
tions, therefore, Suleiman learned to feel the need of money. 
He found it necessary to compel his great ofiicials to help him, by 
exacting sums of money from them at the time of their appoint- 
ment.^ These sums were moderate, but, as already pointed 
out, they set a fatal example.** 

Suleiman's Income 

Suleiman's revenues have been variously estimated. The 
lowest, and probably the most accurate for the field which it 
covers, during the years between 1530 and 1537, is that given 
by Junis Bey, chief interpreter of the Ottoman court, and Alvise 
Gritti, natural son of the Doge of Venice, and business partner 
of the grand vizier Ibrahim.* Junis Bey says: " The income 
of the Great Turk from khardj or tribute amounts to 1,300,000 
ducats from Anatolia and Greece, and 1,600,000 ducats from 
Egypt, and 700,000 ducats from Syria and 150,000 ducats from 
Mesopotamia and 250,000 ducats from his farms, the islands 
which are under him, and the customs of Constantinople and 
Pera. Signor Alvise Gritti says that the income is rather more 
than less than I have stated, and I think that the expenses of the 

1 La Broquicre, 182; Ricaut, 404. 

* Ricaut, 404. 

' Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 472. 

* See above, pp. 115, 116. 

* Postel, iii. 49. 


Porte or of the Seigneur's court consume the entire income or a 
little less." ^ 

The total regular revenue of Suleiman would thus have been 
about four million ducats.^ Two estimates made twenty-five 
or thirty years later differ notably, however. They indicate 
about half as much revenue from Syria and Egypt, allow several 
times as much from the farms and the customs duties, and 
introduce taxes on mines and salt works, tithes paid in kind, 
the animal tax, tributes, escheats, and document fees.^ Accord- 

^ Below, p. 273. 

2 La Broquiere, 182, estimated the sultan's revenue in 1433 at 2,500,000 
ducats. Chalcocondyles, 171, overestimated it at 8,000,000 ducats about the 
year 1465. Alvise Sagudino (quoted in Schefer's edition of Spandugino, p. Iv) 
reckoned it in 1496 at 3,300,000 ducats; Andrea Gritti, father of Alvise, made 
it 5,000,000 in 1503 {ihid. Iviii); Spandugino's estimate, under Bayezid, was 
3,600,000 {ihid. 132). Mocenigo, 54, set Selim I's income at 3,130,000, besides 
800,000 from the Persian conquests, all spent in Persia. Minio (1522), 71, 
estimated the revenue as 3,000,000. Zeno (1524), 95, called it 4,500,000, and 
the expenses 3,000,000. Bragadin (1526), 106, says that the treasury had an 
income of 12,000,000, of which the siJtan took 4,500,000 (the larger amount would 
no doubt include the feudal income). Minio (1527), 115, states the income as 
7,000,000. Zeno (1530), 121, gives 6,000,000 or more for the income, 4,000,000 
for the expenses. Giovio {Connnejitaries, 73) sets the revenue at 6,000,000, 
and the expenses at 4,000,000 or 5,000,000, Postel, iii. 68, gives 4,000,000 on 
Alvise Gritti's authority, though he apportions it differently from Junis Bey. 
D'Ohsson, vii. 258, says that Suleiman's revenues rose to 26,000,000 piasters. 
At 40 aspers to the piaster and 50 aspers to the ducat, this gives about 20,000,000 
ducats, which is far too much. 

3 Navagero (1553), 37-39, estimates 7,166,000 ducats; Trevisano (1554), 
149-150, says 8,196,000 ducats. Navagero seems to overestimate the mines 
(1,500,000 ducats) and the duties (1,200,000); Trevisano's estimate of 2,000,000 
from the animal tax seems unwarranted. Erizzo (1557), 130, claims to give an 
authentic statement of the sultan's income and expenditure; the former he sets at 
4,600,000 ducats and the latter at 3,600,000. A. Barbarigo (1558), 150, gives 
7,740,000 ducats as income and 4,100,000 as expenditure. Donini, 190, says 
that after great efforts he knows most certainly that the income of the treasury for 
1561 was 216,519,826 aspers, or 4,330,396 ducats and 26 soldi, and the expenditure 
206,581,957 aspers, or 4,131,639 ducats and 7 soldi. He states that this income is 
less by 400,000 ducats than usual, because of the prohibition of wine. Erizzo does 
not include the tax on mines and salt works, and the income from Mesopotamia and 
the domain lands, in his list of sources of revenue; and Donini does not specify the 
sources. Bernardo, 347, says that the income in his time of service (1584-87) 
was 9,000,000 ducats, and that by 1592 it was 10,000,000. Knolles (ed. 1687, 
p. 982) estimates the sultan's ordinary revenues about 1603 as 8,000,000. This 
does not, however, include confiscations, fines, tribute, customs, booty, etc., which 


ing to their estimated total of seven or eight niilh'on ducats, 
it would seem that a million ducats ought to be added to Junis 
Bey's estimate for the mines, salt works, and tributes, and a 
million for the other revenues mentioned. This would give an 
estimate of six million ducats for Suleiman's revenues in the 
early part of his reign. Toward the close of his reign, after 
large territories in Europe and Asia had been incorporated, and 
after Rustem had made new arrangements, the total amount 
was probably seven or eight million ducats.^ The bullion value 
of six million ducats is less than fourteen million dollars. If, 
then, the purchasing power of money be estimated at five times 
what it is now, the regular revenue of Suleiman's government 
was equivalent to less than seventy million dollars nowadays, 
no large sum for so great an empire. It is necessary to remember, 
however, that this by no means covers all the expenses for public 
purposes within the empire. It probably includes none of the 
revenues devoted to the Moslem Institution, nor those specifi- 
cally assigned by feudal grant to the officers of local government; 
certainly it does not include those gathered by the permanent 
fief-holders and used for their own support, which probably 
amounted to about twice as much more.^ Allowing for all this, 

Knolles (p. 983) believed to exceed the ordinary revenue. Hammer, Slaats- 
verwalluug, 170, gives oflicial figures for a hundred years hiter (1660) : the income of 
the treasury tlien was 600,000,000 aspers, or 11,000,000 to 12,000,000 ducats at 
sixteenth-century valuations; capitation was nearly 2,000,000, land tax about as 
much, mines 1,000,000, etc. 

1 The extensive notes given above show clearly that from 1433 to 1660 there was 
a progressive increase in the sultan's income, as measured in aspers or ducats. 
Brosch (in Camhridge Modern History, iii. 130) accuses Suleiman of raising by 
taxation double the amount exacted by Mohammed II, and thus bringing undue 
pressure to bear. This statement fails to take account of the fact that Suleiman's 
empire was about double that of Mohammed 11 's in area, population, and wealth. 
Also it seems to have been the case that the value of gold and silver fell greatly after 
the discovery of the American mines (Day, 135). If these etTects were felt 
promptly in the Levant, Suleiman's income in the last years of his life may have had 
little more purchasing power than Mohammed II's. Distributed over a wider 
area, the pressure of taxation in iiis lime may easily have been lighter than it was 
three generations before. 

2 Postel, iii. 67, says that it docs not include the Ulnars. He says (iii. 16S) 
that some call the total revenue 12,000,000 ducats, in which they must include 
the income of the fief-holders. Eragadin, 106, says that the income is 12,000,000. 


the sum total, the equivalent of perhaps two hundred million 
dollars, for all the expenses of central and local government 
was small in proportion to population, according to modern 
standards. Had there been no extortion, the people of the 
empire would not have been burdened heavily. Even with it, 
as indicated already, they probably did not suffer greatly in 
Suleiman's time.^ 

The Nishanji or Chancellor 

The chancery department of the Ottoman government seems 
not to have reached such a stage of development in the sixteenth 
century as had the treasury department; certainly it was not so 
conspicuous. Contemporary writers give so little information 
about it that it is hard to draw a reasonably complete picture 
of it. They mention several of the officials who were prominent 
in the department in later times; but evidently those of the 
earlier period were not under the same relationships to each 
other as were later ones who bore the same titles. The 
Nishanji-bashi, often called simply the Nishanji, was clearly 
the chief, but other details are not easily to be ascertained. 
It seems necessary, therefore, to describe the Ottoman chancery 
as it was two centuries after Suleiman's death, and then to 
endeavor to conjecture what it was in his time.^ 

In the latter part of the eighteenth century the Ottoman 
government had three ministers of state and six under-secre- 
taries of state. The three ministers were the Kiaya-bey, the 
Chaush-bashi, and the Reis Effendi, the last named being by far 
the most important. The Kiaya-bey was the substitute or 

Ramberti (below, p. 261) estimates it at 15,000,000, of which 5,000,000 goes into 
the treasury and 10,000,000 remains for the " servants of war." 

1 Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 472; and see above, p. 144 and note 2. 

2 Accounts are given in D'Ohsson, vii. 159-172, and in Hammer, Staatsverwalt- 
ung, 101-137. References to the Nishanji are found in Spandugino, 99; Mena- 
vino, 168; Ramberti, below, p. 248; Ludovisi, 14; Navagero, 94; Trevisano, ir8; 
Garzoni, 430; Junis Bey (below, p. 266) and Postel, iii. 63, speak of a Teskereji- 
bashi, giving a description which applies exactly to the Nishanji as represented by 
contemporaries. Since the word means merely " chief of document- writers," it 
refers without doubt to the Nishanji. 


lieutenant of the grand vizier, and attended especially to affairs 
of the interior and of war; under him were a number of officials 
who formed connecting links between the grand vizier and the 
various groups of kullar in the household and the army. The 
Chaush-hashi was at the same time second official in the grand 
vizier's court of justice, minister of police, introducer of ambas- 
sadors, grand marshal of the court, and chief of the Chaushes. 
To assist him in the execution of these varied functions, he had a 
large number of under officers and clerks. The Reis EJJendi, 
whose full title was Reis ul-KhuUab, " Chief of the Men of the 
Pen," was minister of foreign affairs, secretary of state, and 
chancellor. In the first capacity he was prominent in inter- 
national relations; in the second he was responsible for the 
preparation of the addresses and reports which the grand vizier 
made to the sultan; in the third, he was head of the three bureaus 
of the chancery. In charge of these under him were a Beylikji, 
or general director of the three bureaus, a Terjuman Divani 
Humayun, or chief interpreter, and an Ameji, who drew up the 
grand vizier's reports to the sultan for the inspection of the 
Reis Effendi. 

Of the three bureaus, the Beylik Kalemi prepared, recorded, 
or transmitted, as was proper in each case, Kanuns, treaties, 
and all firmans that did not concern the treasury department. 
The Tahvil Kalemi prepared the diplomas of governors, of judges 
of large towns, and of fief-holders. The Rims Kalemi made out 
certificates for the clerks of all bureaus, for Kapuji-hashis, pro- 
fessors in endowed colleges, administrators of religious endow- 
ments, pensioners on the treasury or on rehgious benefactions, 
and soldiers of the auxiliary corps of the regular army. Together 
the three bureaus kept employed about one hundred and fifty 
clerks of three grades, provided for by fiefs. The NishanjVs 
sole duty was to authenticate firmans sent to the provinces, 
by tracing at the head of each document the sultan's tughra, 
or official signature. He had no influence on the conduct of 
business, but, as evidence of past greatness, he ranked above 
even the Reis Effendi on ceremonial occasions.^ 

* Hammer, Slaatsverwaltung, 133. 


The under-secretarles were attached by pairs to the ministers. 
The Teshrifatji, or master of ceremonies, and the Kiaya Katihi, 
or private secretary, of the Kiaya-hey were attached to the 
Kiaya-bey. The greater and lesser Teskerejis, or masters of 
petitions, were attached to the Chaush-hashi. The Beylikji, 
mentioned above as head of the three bureaus of the chancery, 
and the Mektuhji, or private secretary of the grand vizier, in 
which office he was assisted by a bureau of thirty clerks, were 
attached to the Reis Efe^idi. 

It is evident that all the functions of the officials and bureaus 
described above must have been performed in some fashion in 
the time of Suleiman. The conservative character of Turkish 
institutions simphfies the problem of determining how they 
were performed. It has been seen, partly by external and partly 
by internal evidence, that the bureaus of the treasury depart- 
ment persisted from the time of Mohammed II to the end of the 
eighteenth century with few changes. Accordingly, the infer- 
ence may fairly be made that the same was true of the chancery 
department. Moreover, the chief officials of the later date are 
mentioned in sixteenth-century writings, among them the 
Kiaya of the grand vizier, the Chaush-bashi, and the Reis Effendi; 
Junis Bey held the position of chief interpreter; ^ and the duties 
of Suleiman's master of ceremonies must have been important. 
The great change in the chancery in the interval was the decline 
of the Nishanji from the highest place in the department to one 
of httle importance, and the rise of the Reis Effendi from a 
subordinate place to the top. From of old the Nishanji had had 
the duty of affixing the sultan's signature to documents; but in 
early Ottoman days, when the pen was of very little consequence 
in comparison with the sword, he had been held in small esteem. 
He was responsible, however, for the accurate and legal formula- 
tion of the papers which he signed; and as the nation grew his 
importance increased, till by the sixteenth century he had 
become a great official, clearly the head of the chancery depart- 
ment, and the recipient of a large salary. A description of 
about the year 1537 says of the Nishanji: " There is a Teskereji- 

^ Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 54. 


hashi, who has the duty of engrossing the ordinances and com- 
mands of the prince and the court, when it has transmitted them 
to him, and is like a general secretary of the commands, or 
recorder of the documents of the prince, which are called Tes- 
kereh; and it is also his duty, in consultation with the pashas, 
to revise the writings and take care that they contain no ambig- 
uous expressions, as though he were a keeper of the seals. 
The present occupant of the office has seven thousand ducats 
of revenue from fiefs, and a large number of slaves, and other 
lesser recorders who also prepare commands, licenses, safe- 
conducts, and other letters as there may be need. These are 
paid here for their trouble, and they may receive three or four 
hundred livres. It is said that the present [Nishanji] is so 
just a man, that he has never in his life received a sou from any 
one with whom he has transacted business." ^ 

The Reis Effendi was at that time, it would seem, little more 
than recording secretary of the Divan.^ The reasons for the 
later change in the relative importance of these two officials 
probably lay in the withdrawal of the sultan into his inner palace, 
and the development of foreign relations. As the sultan became 
more sequestered, the Nishanji's personal relation to him was 
gradually cut off; for the same reason the grand vizier came to 
be more heavily burdened, and left more responsibility on the 
Reis Effendi. Beginning with Suleiman's reign, relations with 
the Western European nations became ever closer and more 
complicated. Cared for in his time by the grand viziers Ibrahim, 
Rustem, and Ali,^ they were entrusted in later reigns to the Reis 
EJfendi. Presently, then, this official displaced the Nishanji at 
the head of the chancery, and the latter was gradually reduced 
almost to the functions of a name-stamp. Aside from this 
important difference, and the general fact that the business of 
the chancery was not so extensive in Suleiman's time as it became 

* Postel, iii. 63. See also Ramberti, below, p. 248. 

'^ Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 229, iii. 796. The first Reis EJfendi whose name is 
known was Haider Effendi, executed in 1525 on the charge of promoting an uprising 
of the Janissaries. The office is mentioned in the Kanun-nameh of Mohammed II 
(Hammer, Slaatsverfassimg, 90). 

' Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 126 ff.; Busbecq, Life and Letters, passim. 


later, and that the functions of separate officials had not come 
to be so rigidly defined, the inference may be made that the 
description of the late eighteenth century holds good generally 
of the Ottoman chancery of the sixteenth century. 

Little evidence appears as to the status of the personnel of 
the treasury and chancery departments. The upper officials 
were drawn from the quieter and more studious members of the 
school of pages; ^ in the time of Mohammed II the Nishanji 
might be drawn from the ranks of the Ulema? Junis Bey 
refers to the employees of the bureaus sometimes as slaves and 
sometimes as companions or scribes. They were paid not in 
money but by fiefs. Near the close of Suleiman's reign, it is 
said, the chancery clerks were Turks, whereas they had been 
Christians and Greeks not long before, and had written their 
documents in Greek.^ Whether or not this be true, the books 
of the treasury department had been kept in Turkish from the 
first;* but it does not follow, of course, that the clerks of this 
department had always been Ottomans, or that, if they werf, 
they had been regularly either Moslem-born or renegades. 
The general reasons which led the sultan to build the Ruling 
Institution out of slaves in its other aspects would tend to 
operate here also; on the other hand, the nature of the work 
demanded persons of quiet tastes and, for many positions, 
those of considerable learning in language and law, and suck 
persons were more easily to be found in the Moslem-born popula- 
tion than among the Christian subjects or renegades. It would 
seem that in Suleiman's time, or shortly before, the personnel 
of the chancery changed from Christian-born to Moslem-born. 
Naturally, then, the personnel of the treasury would have 
been likely to undergo a similar transformation at the same time. 

It has been said that when Turks dismount from their horses, 
they become bureaucrats and paper-scribblers.^ Undoubtedly 

' Ricaut, 57. 2 Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 90. 

^ Trevisano (1554), 118. Morosini (1585), 266, says that the employees of the 
chancery were then native Turks. 

* Hammer, Geschichle, i. 35. 

* Cahun, Inlroduction, 82, speaking of Turks of the steppe lands: " Des qu'ils 
descendaient de cheval, c'etaient des barbares bureaucrates et paperassiers." 


the Ottoman government gave evidence of the truth of this 
statement. The twenty-five bureaus of the treasury and the 
appended bureaus, the three bureaus of the chancery, the treas- 
uries and chanceries of Beylerbeys and Sanjak Beys, the offices 
of the generals of cavalry and infantry, and of the Umena and 
other household officials without and within, contained some 
thousands of men whose whole time was occupied in writing, 
recording, and transmitting laws, ordinances, diplomas, nomina- 
tions, projects, deeds, grants, orders for pay, receipts, reports, 
addresses, petitions, answers, and the like. The existence of 
so many component institutions, connected only at the top and 
paralleling each other's activities both near and far, together 
with the custom of verifying, authenticating, and recording 
many papers in different bureaus and by different officials, 
created a vast and growing amount of red tape that in time was 
greatly to hinder all government business. Even in Suleiman's 
day it seems to have been the practice on the part of clerks and 
officials to demand a private fee for each act of writing or signing 
or stamping or recording or approving or inspecting.^ In the 
time of prosperity, however, this practice can hardly have been 
so vexatious and dilatory as it became later. The bureaucratic 
tendency was no doubt based on a desire to keep everything in 
order by checks and cross-recording; but in the end it defeated 
its object by employing such a multiphcity of devices that order 
was lost in confusion. 

The Divan or Council ^ 

In a land where the law was nearly fixed, and where whatever 
power of legislation was allowed was definitely lodged in one 
man, the only deliberation possible was on administrative and 
judicial subjects. The oversight of these matters was given in 
charge to a council, the Divan, which held long sessions four 

' Spandugino, 185. 

2 The Divan, as it was about 1800, is described in D'Ohsson, vii. 211-232; and 
in Hammei, Staatsverwaltung, 412-436. Contemporary references are Menavino, 
169; Postel, i. 122; Navagero, 93; Trevisano, 117; Garzoni, 430. Zinkcisen, iii. 
117-125, has pictured the Divan in the sixteenth century. 


times each week throughout the year in time of peace, unless 
perhaps in the month of fasting. This council was composed 
of ex officio members who represented (when those who came 
only on special days are added to those who came each day) 
all the great component parts of the Ruling Institution. The 
Moslem Institution also was represented in the two Kaziaskers; 
for the grand vizier and the Divan constituted not only the 
supreme council of administration but the supreme court of the 
empire. It was thus not strictly a part of the RuHng Institution, 
but rather the cap-stone of both institutions, the body that 
gave final unity, immediately under the sultan, to the organiza- 
tion of the empire. 

In former times the sultan had presided at the Divan. Sulei- 
man did not, and he has been greatly blamed for discontinuing 
the custom.^ It is not impossible to sympathize with him, 
however, for he thus freed himself from a great burden ; to spend 
several hours in deliberation on four days of each week during a 
lifetime is a prospect from which any man would shrink. Never- 
theless, it was a serious rift in both of the great institutions of 
the empire at the most dangerous place, and its effect v/as 
decidedly to hasten their disintegration. Suleiman kept the 
Divan under control by means of a grated window in the wall 
of the room where it met.- Not knowing when he might be 
listening there, his councillors had always to speak as if he were 
present with them. 

The arrival of the councillors at the hall of the Divan, their 
entry, their places for sitting or standing, their rank at the simple 
meal of which they partook while there, the order of their going 
in to audience with the sultan afterward, and the manner of their 
departure, were all according to Kanun or equally rigid custom. 
At a later time the details of these ceremonies were all minutely 
specified.^ Probably they were not so elaborate in the time of 

^ Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 489. This is the first of the reasons given by Kochi 
Bey for the decline of the empire after Suleiman. 

2 Postel, i. 123; Trevisano, 119; Garzoni, 431. D. Barbarigo, 32, gives an 
instance in which Suleiman made use of this means of information, and in conse- 
quence ordered the execution of the grand vizier Achmet. 

^ Hammer (Slaatsverwaltung, 412-436) gives them with great exactness. 


Suleiman, but contemporary writings show them already con- 
siderably developed. 

The sessions of the Divan have been described so often that 
it is not necessary to go into detail here. Soon after sunrise 
on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday the ofificials who 
were to participate came to the palace, accompanied by their 
secretaries, ushers, body-guards, and other attendants. They 
passed the second gate of the palace in the inverse order of rank, 
and waited at their prescribed places in the hall of the Divan 
until the grand vizier approached, accompanied by his retinue, 
when all came out and took places according to rank in two 
lines, between which the grand vizier entered. Those who had 
the right then followed him in by pairs, and once more took 
their places.' Officials who might be summoned waited in ante- 
chambers near; and attendants, guards, and soldiers, stood at 
suitable distances. 

The grand vizier sat Turkish fashion in the middle of a long 
sofa which extended round three sides of the hall. On his right 
sat the other viziers (unless one or more happened to be absent 
on a special mission), and beyond them, on the sofa at the end 
of the room, the Nishanji. On the grand vizier's left were the 
two Kaziaskers, and beyond them the Defterdars.- The Bey- 
lerbeys of Anatolia and Greece, and, after Barbarossa's appoint- 
ment, the Kapudan Pasha, sat beyond the viziers on the right. 
The Agha of the Janissaries also had a place, and the chief 
interpreter was often needed. Other generals and high officials 
might be summoned; heads, officials, and clerks of bureaus 
were at hand; and Chaushes, Kapuji-bashis, and Kapujis were 
in readiness to be sent on errands and missions. Before the 
grand vizier, when judicial business was being considered, stood 

* In the time of Mohammed II a procession was formed by the members of the 
Divan, the men of the lowest rank in front, and the grand v-izicr last. On reaching 
the door of the hall, the lesser ofliciais stopped and separated into two lines, between 
which the grand vizier advanced. The greater officials followed, so that the hall 
was entered in the order of rank. See Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 225. 

* From the Kauiin of Mohammed II: Hammer, Slaatsvcrfassuui^, 89. .-\ali 
(used by Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 225) gives a different arrangement, which can 
hardly have been correct. 


the Teskerejis, or masters of petitions. On the floor at his left 
sat the Reis Effendi. The Kapujilar-kiayasi, or grand chamber- 
lain of the household, was present; and the Chaush-bashi, as 
grand marshal of the court, here bearing the additional title 
of Bey of the Divan, saw that all went according to rule. After 
greetings and other formalities the business was taken up in order 
of importance.^ Great questions, like proposals of ambassadors, 
the condition of the provinces, and the possibility or desira- 
bility of war were discussed briefly by the viziers, the others 
present being called upon to speak if their views were desired. 
The grand vizier either declared the decision on such matters, 
subject to the sultan's approval, or reserved the decision for the 
master.- Lesser matters were decided by the viziers individually, 
or were referred by them to the other great officials present, or 
to an ofiicial in attendance outside. Much of the time there was 
no general deliberation, but several affairs might be considered 
by different members of the Divan simultaneously. Lawsuits 
were presented to the grand vizier by the masters of petitions, 
and the parties might appear to plead their own cases, bringing 
witnesses. The grand vizier turned over many cases to the 
Kaziaskers. All business was done with despatch, and a large 
amount was accomplished. Decisions were briefly formulated, 
without discussion of the reasons for action. The Reis Effendi 
and lesser secretaries and clerks wrote down carefully all that 
was decided upon. After the sultan had signified his approval 
at the close of a Divan, the decisions were irrevocable. 

During and also at the close of the session, which might last 
seven or eight hours,^ a simple meal of bread, meat, rice, fruit, 
and water was served to all who were in attendance within and 
without the haU of the Divan. To meet the expense of this, 
four days' pay was reserved each year from the salaries of all 
who were expected to attend.'* Order was kept most carefuUy 
among all who were present within and without the hall of the 
Divan, and absolute silence was preserved, except for such 
movements and conversation as were necessary to the transac- 

^ Postel, 1*. 123. ' Postel, i. 123. 

* Garzoni, 431. * Garzoni, 431. 


tion of business. Any disturber of order and quiet was taken 
away and immediately bastinadoed. 

After the day's work was done, which might be about noon 
in summer time or toward sunset in the winter, those officials 
of the Divan who had the right of audience went to the hall of 
audience to meet the sultan. They were the viziers, Kaziaskers, 
and Deflerdars regularly, and the Beylerbeys and the Agha of the 
Janissaries when they had business; ^ the Deflerdars, however, 
received audience on Sundays and Tuesdays only. The Kazi- 
askers entered first, and when their business had been approved 
they went to the gate and held court. The Beylerbeys, the 
Deflerdars, and the viziers entered the audience chamber together. 
The Beylerbeys transacted their business and departed; the 
Deflerdars did likewise, and went to the door of the treasury to 
give audience. The ordinary viziers, left behind in the presence 
of the sultan, usually said nothing unless asked; the grand 
vizier alone reported on the decisions of the day.- These the 
sultan usually approved as made, sometimes mitigating a deci- 
sion or himself dictating a reply to an ambassador.^ Suleiman 
was willing to give a free hand to Ibrahim, Rustem, and Moham- 
med SokoUi during their long periods of service.* 

In time of war the Divan was held in the grand vizier's tent, 
which was usually pitched near the sultan's. As all the high 
officials, and the heads of bureaus with at least part of their 
clerks, were present with the army, much the same ceremony 
could be gone through with as in the capital. When the sultan 
was absent from the city on campaigns, the few officials of 
government who were left behind held a secondary Divan on 
Saturdays and Sundays. In case of emergency during war-time, 
or for some other special reason, a Divan might be held on horse- 

The Divan of Suleiman was a splendid ceremony, and it 
transacted a great amount of administrative and judicial busi- 

* Hammer, Staatsverfassung, 89; Trevisano, 1 18-1 19. 

2 Navagcro, 98; D. Barbarigo, 26. See also above, p. 164 and note 3. 

* Postel, i. 123. 

* Trevisano, 120. See above, p. 164. 
^ Zinkeisen, iii. 125; Tiepolo, 164. 


ness. A large proportion of the duties of the principal officials 
was attended to in its sessions rather than in private offices; 
and on particular matters there was a certain amount of delibera- 
tion, though the Ottomans were not a people of many words. 
The Divan was by no means a legislative chamber. It was in a 
sense a combination of a president's cabinet and a supreme 
court; ^ yet it was unlike both. Its presiding officer was ap- 
pointed; all its decisions required the approval of the sultan, 
who was not present at its sessions; and all its members were 
responsible to him for good behavior on penalty of their Hves. 
It was the highest court in the land, yet not so much a court of 
appeal as a court of first instance. It had no power to judge the 
validity of laws; yet it was not restricted in its jurisdiction, 
since it had cognizance of all civil and criminal cases that might 
be presented to it from any part of the empire. In its judicial 
aspect, again, its decisions had no validity without the approval 
of the sultan. With all its limitations, however, it was of great 
value to the Ottoman government. Below the sultan, but above 
all institutions of the empire, it bound together at the top the 
Ruling Institution and the Moslem Institution, and it united 
similarly all the component divisions of each; it was the pivot 
from which were suspended all the separate parts of the despoti- 
cally constructed government. In it met the ablest men of the 
empire, chosen by selection after selection, each one charged 
with great responsibilities and possessing power to execute 
without delay what might be agreed upon. The Divan was 
excellently adapted to the general Ottoman system. It enabled 
the ruler, with a minimum of care, to keep the closest control 
over every part of the empire through extremely intelhgent 
and capable agents, who were bound to him by gratitude, self- 
interest, ambition, and fear. It was a training-school of judges, 
administrators, and statesmen, since men ordinarily rose from 
place to place among its offices as they gained experience; here 

1 Heidbom, 141: " Le divan etait a la fois une sorte de Conseil d'Etat, ou se 
discutaient les affaires politlques importantes, et une Cour supreme autorisee a 
evoquer tout litige devant elle et a connaitre notamment des proces entre Ottomans 
et etrangers qui depassaient la valeur de 3000 aspres." 


they imparted ideas and methods to each other, and made their 
abihties known to the highest officials, the grand vizier and the 
sultan, with whom lay the power of promotion. Nor was the 
Divan wholly destitute of legislative influence. All Kanuns 
were issued in the sultan's name and after his definite approval; 
yet the information on which they were based must regularly 
have come through members of the Divan, and members of the 
Divan with their subordinates must certainly have drawn them 
up and revised them into shape. ControUing administration 
and justice and influencing legislation, the Divan, under the 
leadership of the grand vizier, governed the Ottoman Empire 
for the sultan. 

The Ruling Institution as a Whole 

That which for want of a better name has been called in this 
treatise the Ottoman Ruling Institution has now been discussed 
in all its general aspects. Space has been lacking for the presen- 
tation of many details, though the attempt has been made to 
introduce all such as would give necessary evidence or useful 
illustration. A few statements intended to summarize and bind 
together what has been said will complete the discussion of the 

The Ottoman Ruling Institution was in its most essential 
aspect a government for the Ottoman Empire. In this respect 
its form was a despotism, centered in one man, the sultan. Yet 
the despotism was greatly circumscribed by a rigid constitutional 
law, which was firmly grounded in strong religious belief and 
intense national conservatism. This law held the sultan within 
limited functions, but at the same time it gave him his right to 
rule. As a government under this law, the Ottoman Ruling 
Institution maintained public order, defended the empire against 
its enemies, and endeavored by conquest to enlarge its possessions 
and with them the domain of the Sacred Law. A large propor- 
tion of its energies was devoted to obtaining and distributing the 
means of its own support, to keeping its own machinery in order, 
and to maintaining its authority within the empire. The idea of 
labor for the public welfare or of efTort toward progress was not 


present. Change came, not by conscious striving toward better- 
ment, but by growth, development, and decay, the effects of 
which were adjusted when it became necessary. But within such 
limits, there was in the sixteenth century a distinct desire, 
founded on consciousness of greatness, pride of power, and 
loyalty to Islam, to have the government well-ordered and 
intelUgently directed, and to cause it to bear upon its subjects 
as evenly and lightly as possible. Suleiman laid hold of many 
problems which had arisen, and through the agency of his ablest 
servants strove to set his house in order. That he did not suc- 
ceed in accompHshing more permanent results was due to the 
fact that the task was too great for any man. The institution 
was too artificial to endure indefinitely. 

The whole institution kept itself in power, and defended and 
enlarged the empire, by being organized as an army. With 
exceptions, all its officers of government were soldiers and all 
its army officers had governmental duties. It constituted a 
standing army of cavalry and infantry, aided by artillery, 
commissary, and transport services; and it controlled a much 
larger feudal and irregular army. Through the feudal army it 
kept the country in subjection. By garrisons it held the towns 
quiet. In case of rebellion, it threw a great force upon the 
insurgents, and beat them down with cruel and resistless energy. 
For foreign wars it gathered an enormous but well-controlled 
host, which was victorious in battle throughout the reign of 
Suleiman. It took by siege Belgrade and Rhodes, but it failed 
at Vienna and Malta. The weakness of the Ruling Institution 
as an army was its essential indivisibility. Only one great 
war could be waged at a time, although there were great enemies 
in two directions ; hence an overwhelming defeat of the principal 
army would have been irreparably disastrous. But the army 
was to suffice for a long period; and for generations its worst 
foes were to be, not foreign armies, but internal rivalries and 
departures from its constitutive principles. 

To maintain the pomp and ceremony which are attached 
to the idea of an empire, especially in the East, and to supply 
the sultan on a large scale with all the enjoyments which were 


considered due to his state, the Ottoman Ruling Institution 
was in another aspect a great court and household. Nearly- 
all its members shared in the display of grand occasions, many- 
went to the hunt with the sultan, and a large proportion of them 
had constant duties of ceremonial and personal service. Sulei- 
man was known as the Legislator and the Conqueror, but beyond 
both these titles as the Magnificent; he shone as head of the 
government and the army, but still more as head of the court. 
Splendor and luxury, however, are expensive, and in the end 
his example was to be ruinous. 

All the members of the Ruling Institution were set off as a 
nobility by exemption from taxation and by special jurisdiction; 
but, lest they might prove a danger tp the institution, they were 
not allowed to transmit their nobility to their descendants. 
In the end, however, their special privilege was to become so 
desirable that the walls of separation would be invaded and the 
institution would be wrecked. 

The Ottoman Ruling Institution, at once the government, 
the army, and the nobihty of a great nation, was at the same 
time a genuine slave-family. Almost all its members were 
recruited as slaves and remained slaves throughout their days; 
their Hves and their property were at the disposal of the sultan; 
they must obey without hesitation, as all slaves must obey. 
Yet their condition was far from being miserable. Their slavery 
conveyed no taint: one of them might be married to a protegee 
or even a daughter of the great master; their children would 
never be reproached because of the father's status. It was an 
honor to be the sultan's kul. Vast wealth and almost royal 
power and rule might be theirs; yet each member of the RuHng 
Institution was actually a slave. 

The most characteristic feature of this institution lay in the 
fact that its recruits were almost all drawn from children (born 
within or without the empire) of Christian parents, and that 
before they were advanced they were expected to become IMo- 
hammedans. A twofold motive lay beneath this poHcy, — a 
desire to obtain single-hearted servants and to increase the 
number of believers in the Mohammedan faith. Sons of these 


converts were sometimes admitted to the Ruling Institution, 
but their grandsons practically never. Thus a constant stream 
of the ablest and fittest Christian children who were born in or 
near the Ottoman dominions were brought into the Ruling 
Institution, the Ottoman nation, and the Mohammedan fold. 

The next most characteristic and the most abiding feature 
of the Ottoman Ruhng Institution was its educational quality. 
The Christian slaves were all acquired while young, and were 
trained with the greatest care to become useful members of the 
institution, each in the capacity for which nature had best 
fitted him. They were pro\dded with an education which, 
if not so general or so advanced as the usual training of modern 
times, was more nearly complete. Body and mind, social, 
moral, and religious nature, all received attention. The imme- 
diate object of this education was to fit the boys for the sultan's 
service in war and government; but they were also trained to 
adorn his ceremonies and his court, and to live by the principles 
and in the faith of Mohammed. When they were first admitted, 
their training was more or less like that in schools of an industrial, 
military, and cultural character; but it did not stop with the 
attainment of majority. Army, household, bureaus, local 
government, and Divan, all were conducted much like schools. 
Strict disciphne was constantly maintained, slackness was se- 
verely punished, and industry and abihty were richly rewarded. 
The results were well-nigh incredible; they constitute a wonder- 
ful demonstration of how little the human spirit is limited by the 
ignorance or the restricted and humble Hfe of ancestors. With 
hardly an exception, the men who guided Suleiman's empire 
to a height of unexampled glory were sons of peasants and herds- 
men, of do\vntrodden and miserable subjects, of unlettered and 
half-civilized men and women. It is not easy to decide which 
is more to be admired, the ability by which such young men rose, 
or the confidence with which they were chosen and expected 
to rise. If these men had not really risen, if they had remained 
boorish, ignorant, and narrow, though elevated to high position 
and authority, the facts would be less remarkable than they are. 
The evidence is, however, that they really became educated, 


cultured, and polished men: to this day their descendants have 
a manner and charm that can rarely be found among Western 
peoples. It is much easier to understand the whole process and 
its results in a modern democratic age and land than it was in 
feudal Europe of the sixteenth century. The Ottoman Ruling 
Institution was from start to finish ingeniously contrived to 
develop its members, within the limits of its purposes, to their 
utmost capacity. Great authority, great position, great financial 
rewards, were offered. Great punishments were not far away 
from those who might prove dangerous, treacherous, or even 
incompatible and ineflicient. 

As a result of its careful selection and training of men for 
society, war, and government, the Ottoman Ruling Institution, 
allowing for all imperfections of structure, was a very efficient 
and permanent entity. It was later to endure terrible shocks 
and losses without destruction; it was to suffer a partial separa- 
tion of its component institutions into hostile bodies, and to 
witness serious departures from its rules and principles. But, 
despite attack from without and disintegration and decay within, 
it long stood firm; and, together with its dissimilar companion, 
the Moslem Institution of the Ottoman Empire, it has kept the 
vital spark of that empire alive for more than two centuries 
after extinction began to be thought imminent. Even today 
its abiding spirit gives promise of lighting a new and very different 
torch, which, having burned away the limitations and imper- 
fections that caused the ruin of the older institution, will yet 
be the brighter for preserving a democratic faith in the capacity 
of the able individual, and a disposition to help him forward by 
education and to trust him with all the responsibility that he 
is able to bear. Most features of the Ottoman Ruling Institution 
cannot live in the twentieth century. Despotism, military 
rule, personal privilege, excessive imperial splendor, prosely- 
tism, and slavery have been dethroned in favor of political 
and religious liberty, equality, fraternity, separation of church 
and state, and government by the people. But the idea of an 
education which will develop the individual to the full extent 
of his capacities is thoroughly modern; and the disposition to 


entrust high offices to those who, without regard to ancestry, 
are the ablest, and who become by their own efforts and by 
carefully supervised training the best equipped, is in advance 
of the ordinary practice of Western democracies. Herein lies 
one of the strongest elements of hope for the future of the new 
Turkey, which may thus preserve continuity with the past. 

The Ottoman Ruling Institution, still thus capable of imparting 
valuable ideas, was in its halcyon days a thing of immense 
moment in the world. Out of carefully selected but most 
heterogeneous materials it had built itself up as a firm, strong, 
and simple structure, which had gathered a chaotic mass of petty 
states and hostile peoples into a great and, by comparison, a 
well-governed and durable empire. In the reign of the great 
Suleiman no human structure existed which equalled this institu- 
tion in wealth, splendor, power, simpHcity and rapidity of action, 
and respect at home and abroad. 



General Description 

In a survey of the institutional history of the Ottoman Empire, 
a study of the complex organization which was based upon and 
inspired by the Mohammedan religion would demand as large 
a space as that given to the Ruling Institution. In a discussion 
of the government of the empire, however, a much briefer treat- 
ment will suffice. The Moslem Institution as a whole will 
be sketched rapidly; fuller consideration will be given to its 
juristic and judicial features, which especially affected and 
entered into the government of the nation. 

The structure of the Moslem Institution of the Ottoman Em- 
pire, as of the corresponding institutions in all Moslem lands, 
was and remains to the present time wholly different from that 
of any of the Christian ecclesiastical organizations. As a mere 
church it claimed far less place and influence than they do, but 
in other aspects it reached out far more widely. It included 
all those Mohammedans in the Ottoman Empire, outside of the 
Ruling Institution, who were in any way lifted above the level 
of the ordinary believer. Islam recognized no organized priest- 
hood, no aristocracy, and no monks; yet the Ottoman Moslem 
Institution possessed groups that were much like each of the 
three. In addition it had a graded educational system, with a 
graded corps of teachers, it contained a hierarchy of jurist- 
theologians, and it supplied a classified body of judges, whose 
combined jurisdictions covered the whole empire. That which 
all persons who constituted this institution had in common 
was a special relationship to the Mohammedan religion, some- 
times based on birth or piety, but usually established by intel- 
lectual training in connection with the Book and the Law of 
Islam. In contrast with the Ottoman Ruling Institution, the 
Moslem Institution cannot as a whole be regarded under several 



aspects. Like the former, it included component institutions; 
but these all grew up from the Mohammedan population and 
rested on one broad base, instead of being extended downward 
from the top. At the same time, the sultan was the head of this 
institution, whether it be considered as a whole or in reference 
to each of its component institutions. He and his government 
appointed its most influential personages, maintained careful 
oversight of its financial support, and kept record of the appoint- 
ments of all its members who shared in this support. The two 
great institutions of the Ottoman Empire were therefore joined 
together at the top, and, as will appear, they touched at every 
other level both in financial and in governmental relations. 

The fundamental difference of the two institutions lay in 
the fact that the members of the RuHng Institution were drawn 
almost exclusively from Christian families, and the members 
of the Moslem Institution even more exclusively from Moham- 
medan families. While it is likely that the majority of the 
Mohammedan famihes had sprung from Christian ancestors 
not many generations back, it is also true that Islam acts rapidly 
upon the spirit of converts. Accordingly the two institutions 
were very differently constituted. Between them arose a 
rivalry of tendency and influence which was to become extremely 
harmful to the Ottoman state. 

In this treatise the financial side of the Moslem Institution 
will be considered, the four great groups of its membership will 
be discussed in the proportion of their relation to the govern- 
ment, and some attention will be given to the institution as a 

Financial Support of the Moslem Institution ^ 

As already stated, a large proportion of the land of the Otto- 
man Empire, perhaps one-third,^ was set aside as vakf, or rehgious 

1 Although this and other features of the Moslem Institution will be spoken of 
throughout this chapter in the past tense, much that is mentioned remains in 
existence in Turkey at the present time. The vakfs are discussed at length in 
D'Ohsson, ii. 437-567; and more briefly in Belin, La Propriete Foncicre, 74-104. 
Heidbom, 306 ff., gives a well-analyzed account; and on p. 306, note 245, he 
mentions additional authorities. 

2 Ricaut, 213. 


endowment. Much of this had been so devoted by sultans, 
and in such cases the imperial treasury could use for its own 
purposes none of the revenue or income from these lands. Other 
parcels of land had been set apart by private individuals, in 
these instances the treasury receiving for its own use the same 
revenues as before the endowment, while the surplus income 
from the land was devoted to the purposes specified by the giver. 
Each tract of such land was by the original act of endowment 
assigned to a particular object, and a Muteveli or administrator 
and a Nazir or inspector were appointed to take care of it. In 
a large proportion of cases a high ofificial of the government or 
household, such as the grand vizier, the Mufti, the Kapic Agha, 
or the Kizlar Agha, was put in charge ex officio in one or the other 
capacity, on the theory that, being near the person of the sultan, 
he would be subject to constant control. In course of time the 
Kizlar Agha, the grand vizier, and the Mufti found it necessary 
to organize the properties under their charge by holding private 
Divans of the subordinate administrators and inspectors, and by 
appointing Mufettishes, or special judges, each with a staff of 
subordinates and traveUing inspectors.^ 

Although every tract of land was assigned for a definite object 
and placed under specified guardians, the vakfs were a matter 
of pubhc record, and the accounts of all were kept by the treasury 
department in the appropriate bureaus. The subjects who lived 
on vakf lands seem to have been better treated than those on 
lands of other sorts, just as in the West in the Middle Ages the 
serfs of the church were often better off than other serfs.- There 
were three classes of vakfs, — the regular vakfs of the mosques, 
the vakfs for charitable purposes, and the customary vakfs of 
the mosques. The last were chiefly in the nature of investments 
of the funds of the mosques, and were according to Kanun 
rather than Sheri.^ In the second class were included endow- 
ments of schools, libraries, hospitals, bridges, fountains, caravan- 

^ D'Ohsson, ii. 540. 

2 Ricaut, 217. D'Ohsson, ii. 532, expresses a different opinion. 
' Interest was allowable on the funds belonging to mosques, though otherwise 
forbidden: Ricaut, 218; D'Ohsson, ii. 550. 


serais, public baths, convents for dervishes, and the like. The 
narrow provision of the Ruling Institution for public service 
was in this way supplemented.^ The first class deserves further 

The chief material unit in connection with the Moslem Institu- 
tion was the mosque. Each great mosque was a large house of 
worship, with a group of smaller institutions clustered about it, 
such as colleges, law schools, hospitals, insane asylums, and soup- 
kitchens. For the support of these and of all persons who con- 
ducted them, the income from the vakjs of the mosque was 
appUed. In many cases the lands which had belonged to Chris- 
tian churches before the Ottoman conquest were assigned as 
vakJs for the support of the mosques into which the churches 
were converted. For example, the grounds of the sultan's 
principal palace had belonged to the church, and were assigned 
as vakf to the mosque of Aya Sofia. When Mohammed II took 
them for his palace he pledged a revenue of one thousand and 
one aspers a day to the great mosque." This church was one 
of eight in the city of Constantinople which were so treated.^ 
The revenue of Aya Sofia was estimated at two hundred thousand 
ducats a year.^ The income of the principal mosques being 
much larger than the expenses, a considerable portion of the 
surplus was used by the guardians for their own benefit, although 
they were supposed to receive no compensation, but to labor 
for the love of God. The fact is that many of the sultan's 
kullar provided an inheritance for their sons and descendants 
by setting apart for specific purposes lands in vakf, of which the 
desired persons should be administrators, it being clearly under- 
stood that a portion of the income should be retained by them.^ 
The remainder of the surplus was held in a special treasury by 
the appropriate bureaus, or was reinvested in customary vakfs, 
or was lent to the government. The vakfs as a whole supported 

^ See below, p. 234, note i. 
"^ Ramberti, below, p. 243; Ricaut, 215. 
^ Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 237. 

^ Ricaut, 215. In D'Ohsson's time (ii. 538) it was estimated at 1,000,000 
aspers. Nicolay, 68, says that it had been 300,000 ducats before the conquest. 
* Morosini, 267; Zane, 406; Heidborn, 309. 


all the official members of the Moslem Institution, except that 
the judges derived much of their income from fees and fines. ^ 
The treasury department received and controlled all the revenues 
from vakfs, and paid from the appropriate funds all who were 
duly certified as recipients of salaries and pensions. 

All the Ulema, in connection with their support from semi- 
public funds, possessed the noble privilege of immunity from 
taxation. Since the rendering of justice was in their hands, 
they had their own justice. In addition, their property was not 
subject to confiscation; and, since they were not kullar, it passed 
by inheritance to their relatives and never to the sultan. All 
these privileges gave the learned class in the Ottoman Empire 
the prestige of nobility, besides great financial advantage.^ 

The Educational System 

Like the Ruling Institution, the Moslem Institution contained 
and embodied an educational system which was of its essential 
structure. Through it, from the time of Mohammed II, the 
great majority of the members of the institution, including all 
who expected promotion, were required to pass; accordingly, 
they bore as a body the name of the Ulema, or learned men.^ 
The schools, supported by vakfs and attached to mosques, were 
in three grades: the mektebs or primary schools, known in the 
sixteenth century as okimiak-yerleri or reading-places; the 
ordinary medressehs or colleges; and the higher medressehs or 
law schools, of university grade. The mektebs taught Arabic 
reading and writing and the Koran ; the medressehs gave a course 
of ten studies resembling the Seven Arts of the West; ^ the law 

^ Mohammed II fixed these fees: for example. 7 aspers for sealing a document, 
12 for a signature, 32 for the marriage contract of a virgin, 15 for that of a widow, 
etc. See Hammer, Slaalsverfassung, 100. 

2 D'Ohsson, iv. 599. 

' The Ulema and other members of the Moslem Institution are described in 
D'Ohsson, iv. 482-686. Hammer, Staatsverwaltitng, 372-412, gives a summary of 
D'Ohsson 's treatment. Heidborn, 208-210, describes the educational system 

* The ten studies were grammar, syntax, logic, metaphysics, philology, tropics, 
stylistics, rhetoric, geometry, and astronomy: Hammer, Geschkhtc, ii. 238. 


schools taught the group of sciences connected with the Koran 
and the Sheri and including both law and theology.^ 

There was no compulsory education; nor could the system, 
by reason of the individual character of its foundations, be 
universal for Mohammedan children, But it may be supposed 
that any Moslem parent, the inhabitant of a town of some size, 
who desired his son to learn the rather difiEicult art of reading 
and writing Turkish and Arabic, or even to enter upon a learned 
career, was not devoid of an opportunity. Furthermore, where 
primary schools existed the instruction was free, and some 
students were even fed and lodged ; ^ the students in the med- 
ressehs were also partially supported, and those in the law 
schools received a sufficiency. This system, which dated back 
at least to the twelfth century in Moslem lands, probably in the 
Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century gave better opportunity 
for education to Moslem boys than was afforded to Christian 
children in any land until a much later date. The Ottomans 
believed thoroughly in education; but, unfortunately, their 
conservatism was in course of time to turn a beneficent institu- 
tion into a harmful one. No change of consequence, either in 
methods of teaching or in subjects of study, was permitted 
from century to century; hence the training that had once 
carried its earnest pupils to the forefront of human knowledge 
was in time to hold them firmly at a stage which the rest of the 
world had long passed through and left far behind. 

The medressehs were very numerous in the empire; ^ the mosque 
of the Conqueror had eight, that of Suleiman five. It was 
Suleiman who set the gradations of the system in their final 

1 Among these studies were advanced rhetoric and metaphysics, dogmatics, 
civil law, exegesis, jurisprudence, oral tradition, and written documents (Hammer, 
Ceschichte, ii. 239). All schools above the mektcbs came under the name viedresseh. 
Heidbom distinguishes eight classes to which Suleiman added four colleges of yet 
higher degree. His implication (p. 210, note 5) that the student who aimed at the 
highest judgeships must study through eight or more medressehs, and then teach 
through a like series, can hardly be correct, since the ordinary human life would be 
too short for such a double round. Probably the steps of progress were not so 
precisely regulated or so numerous. 

2 D'Ohsson, ii. 464. 

2 Hammer (Geschichle, ix. 145-163) found 275 in Constantinople alone, of which 
50 had been founded before the death of Suleiman. 


form. All who aspired to any official position in the Moslem 
Institution must pass through a medresseh of some degree. 
On first entering they were called Softas, or more properly 
Sukhtas, as those who were inflamed with the desire for learning. 
The students were in different grades, but there seems to have 
been no fixed number of years of study; the instruction being 
largely individual, each could proceed as rapidly as he was 
able. On finishing, they received a sort of master's degree and 
were called Danishmend, which appears in several of the early 
sources as Talisman} Such students as were content to teach 
primary schools, or to attend to ecclesiastical duties, needed to 
study no longer. 

Those who aspired to become jurists or judges had to pursue 
a long course in law in the higher medressehs. At the end of this 
time they were examined personally by the Mufti, or chief 
jurist, and if successful they were dignified with the title of 
Muldzim, or candidate. Those who did not aspire to the higher 
judicial positions ended their preparation at this point. The 
more ambitious sought appointment, for which they were now 
qualified, as Muderisler, or professors, in medressehs of low grade. 
The Muderisler received large salaries, which increased as they 
rose. They were in three classes, — the Muderisler of Con- 
stantinople, of Adrianople and Brusa, and of the other cities 
of the empire. The Muderisler of Constantinople numbered 
about four hundred; they were in ten grades, distinguished 
according to the subjects which they taught. Those of other 
cities than the capital, and those at the capital who did not pass 
through all the grades, became either jurists or judges of lesser 
degrees. Those who wished to reach the higher judgeships were 
obliged to pass through all ten grades. Since this was so long 
a process as regularly to bring a man to gray hairs before he 
reached the top, the rigid grading early began to be circumvented 
by the practice of inscribing the sons of Ulema as Muderisler 
while they were very young, substitutes being hired to teach 
in their places.- By the age of thirty or forty they would thus 

' Chalcocondyles, 53; Ramberti, below, p. 244; Junis Bey, below, p. 265; etc 
' D'Ohsson, ii. 477; Heidborn, 213. 


be able to attain high position. A continuance of this process, 
combined with the immunities and privileges of the Ulema, 
was in time to lead to great accumulations of wealth in the hands 
of a few families, who would be able to keep most of the high 
judicial offices within their own numbers. 

Clergy, Seids, and Dervishes 

The clergy of the Ottoman nation were, as has been shown, 
of no great education, and they seem to have possessed less 
influence than the priests of any other religion.^ They were in 
five classes: the Sheiks, or preachers; the Khatihs, or leaders of 
Friday services; the Imams, or leaders of daily services; the 
Muezzins, who intoned the call to prayer; and the Kaims, or 
caretakers of the mosques. 

The Seids, also known as Emirs or Sherifs, were a class apart 
among the Ottomans. They were not properly members of the 
Ulema, unless, like others, they passed through the schools; 
they owed their distinction rather to a real or assumed genealogy 
which carried their ancestry back to the Prophet Mohammed. 
They alone were privileged to wear a green turban. They were 
numerous; but the claims of many were doubted, and some of 
them seem to have possessed reputations that were far from 
savory.^ They constituted the only hereditary nobiUty among 
the Ottomans, but their privileges appear to have been personal 
rather than financial: they were not to be struck, for example, 
on penalty of severe punishment, and they had their own justice. 
Great honor was shown to two members of this nobility, descend- 
ants of the Prophet: to the Mir-Alem, the sultan's standard- 
bearer, who was regularly a Seid, and had precedence of all 
the officers of the army; and to the Nakih ol-EsJiraf, head of 
the Seids, who ranked second in the Moslem Institution, and 
at the ceremonies of Bairam had precedence even of the Mufti. 
The Nakib ol-Eshraf was appointed by the sultan for fife; that 

^ Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 236: "The priesthood proper ... is perhaps in no 
other state of less influence, but the teaching body is in no other kingdom 
(except China) of greater weight and political importance." 

^ Ricaut, 211. 


member of the Ulema who was a Seid and who ranked highest 
when the place fell vacant was ordinarily chosen. He had a 
staff of officers and clerks in the capital and the provinces, and 
was head of the separate jurisdiction of the Seids. Under the 
sultan he held despotic authority over all Seids; and, when 
the sovereign ordered the punishment or death of one of them, 
the Nakib ol-Eshraf was commissioned to carry out the execu- 

Dervishes also were not members of the Ulema. They were 
of many orders, though sixteenth-century observers seem to 
have been impressed with but four.^ They represented in Islam 
the monks, the hermits, and the begging friars of Christianity. 
Through them heresies spread, uprisings were concocted, mobs 
were gathered, and holy war was preached. On more than one 
occasion they endangered the power of the government.^ Many 
were honest, God-fearing folk, while others were scarcely more 
than tramps and wandering thieves. 

Clergy, Seids, and dervishes represented the merely religious 
side of the Moslem Institution. Islam was fundamentally a 
rehgion without priests, monks, or nobles; and these persons 
never grew to possess permanent influence and power in the 
Ottoman state.^ 

Jurists and the Mutti 

A number of the Ulema who had finished the law course, 
and who at some previous time had chosen to become counsellors 
and jurists rather than to take up the severer and more active 
judicial career, constituted a distinct body, the muftis, who were 
held in high esteem. One of these was assigned as associate 
to the judge of every important city, to the number of about 
two hundred in all, while others were counsellors for the Bcylcr- 
beys and Sanjak Beys. Appointed for Ufe, they lived in retire- 
men L, having no initiative of action. When the judge, Bey, 
or any private citizen, confronted by a case or other matter 

^ Spandugino, 219; Menavino, 72 fl.; Nicolay, 121. Ricaut, 261 £F., knew 
eight or ten orders, which he describes at some length. 
- Hammer, Geschichte, i. 154, ii. 357, iii. 67; Postel, i. 112. 
* Heidborn, 269-274. 


which involved a learned knowledge of the Sacred Law, sub- 
mitted to one of them a question in writing, usually in the form 
of a hypothetical case, it was the duty of the mufti, after careful 
consideration of the question in the light of the law books of 
the school of Abu Hanifa, to give an answer that apphed the 
Sacred Law to the matter concerned. These answers, which 
were called fetvas, were usually extremely concise and unaccom- 
panied by reasoning; they were prepared and sealed in solemn 
form.^ When a judge or a Bey proposed to his rmifti a question 
touching a pending law case, the muJtVs response ordinarily 
settled the case. Private citizens who obtained /etoa^ ordinarily 
did so to help their causes in pending law suits; here again 
a pertinent question and answer would usually settle the case. 
Since there was no class of professional lawyers, the muftis were 
a necessary and very useful body. 

In ordinary cities the mufti ranked after the judge. This 
was not the case in Constantinople, where the sultan and his 
ofhcers of government frequently had questions to present 
which touched matters of the highest public importance. As a 
consequence the mufti of Constantinople became par excellence 
the Mufti. Mohammed II assigned to him also the title of 
Sheik ul-Islam, the Ancient of Islam, which in later times was 
to become his ordinary title. The Mufti was not regularly 
chosen from among his fellows, but was usually advanced by 
the sultan from the active judicial service.^ He had the right 
to appoint and promote all the other muftis of the empire. A 
special bureau called the Fetva-khaneh was created by Suleiman 
to assist the Mufti in preparing decisions. 

The Mufti was definitely constituted by Suleiman the head 
of the Ulema; ^ and as such he outranked all officials of govern- 

^ Ricaut, 20I. 

2 In Ricaut's time (p. 204) one of the Kaziaskers was regularly chosen for this 

' D'Ohsson, iv. 500. Heidbom, 215, says that the title Sheik ul-Islam was first 
bestowed by Murad II upon the mufti of Adrianople, who was removed to Con- 
stantinople by Mohammed II after the capture; that Mohammed assigned the 
title Reis ul-ulema, or chief of the Ulema, to this ofi&cer, but that he reached 
great dignity only under Suleiman. 


ment, except that he yielded place to the grand vizier on ordinary- 
occasions. He was almost the equal of the sultan himself, since 
he was the expounder and representative of the Sacred Law, 
which was above the sultan. Bayezid II was accustomed to 
stand to receive the Mufti, and to give him a seat above his own.^ 
Early in Suleiman's reign it was said, " The Turk shows his 
[Mufti] the greatest reverence of any man in his realm, because 
he represents justice and the image of God." ^ Sixteenth-century 
Westerners compared the Mufti with a '* very great cardinal," ' 
but more often with the pope.'* The Mufti had, however, no tem- 
poral authority and no active part in affairs; like his brethren in 
lesser cities, he could give responses only when his opinion was 
asked. He could, however, rightly be compared with the pope 
in dignity and in the magnitude of the matters with which he 
dealt. His alone was the right to proclaim that war should be 
begun, and to send out preachers to declare that the war was holy 
and incumbent on all Moslems. He was frequently consulted 
by the sultan as to the conformity of proposed Kanuns with the 
Sacred Law.^ In his hands rested the extreme responsibility 
of pronouncing that a sultan had transgressed the Sacred Law 
and ought to be deposed. In short, though he could claim no 
divinely delegated power to create new rules of faith or law, he 
was the final earthly authority in the interpretation of the 
Sacred Law as completed by Mohammed the Prophet. He 
exercised a function similar to what in the United States of 
America is the highest office of the Supreme Court, — the power 
of defending the Constitution. In this capacity the Mufti 
often withstood the sultan. Urf was subordinate to Sheri, and 
in case of conflict the former must yield; therefore the sultan, 
who embodied the former, could not override the Mufti, who 
represented the latter. A century after the time of Suleiman 
it was said : — 

' Spandugino, 113. 
2 Postel, i. 118. 
■• Spandugino, 112. 

* La Broquiere, 181; Ramberti, below, p. 247; GeufiFroy, 241; Trcvisano, 122; 
Busbccq, Life and Letters, i. 116; Bernardo, 364. 
' Heidborn, 216. 


" The Mufti is the principal head of the Mahometan Religion 
or Oracle of all doubtful questions in the Law, and is a person 
of great esteem and reverence amongst the Turks; his Election 
is solely in the Grand Signior, who chuses a man to that Office 
always famous for his Learning in the Law, and eminent for his 
vertues and strictness of Life: his Authority is so great amongst 
them, that when he passes Judgment or Determination in any 
point, the Grand Signior himself will in no wise contradict or 
oppose it. . . . 

" In matters of State the Sultan demands his opinion, whether 
it be in Condemnation of any great man to Death, or in making 
War or Peace, or other important Affairs of the Empire; either 
to appear the more just and religious, or to incline the People 
more willingly to Obedience. And this practice is used in busi- 
ness of greatest moment; scarce a Visier is proscribed, or a 
Pashaw for pretence of crime displaced, or any matter of great 
alteration or change designed, but the Grand Signior arms 
himself with the Mufti's Sentence; for the nature of man reposes 
more security in innocence and actions of Justice, than in the 
absolute and uncontroulable power of the Sword. And the 
Grand Signior, tho he himself is above the Law, and is the 
Oracle and Fountain of Justice, yet it is seldom that he proceeds 
so irregularly to contemn that Authority wherein their Religion 
hath placed an ultimate power of Decision in all their Contro- 
versies." ^ 

The power of the Mufti in the sixteenth century may be 
illustrated by one or two instances. In the early years of the 
century, shortly before the appearance of the Reformation 
movement in Western Europe, the Ottoman Empire was threat- 
ened by the presence of large numbers of heretics in Asia Minor, 
simultaneously with the rise of a strong Mohammedan heretical 
power in Persia. Selim the Grim disposed of the heretics in his 
dominions by wholesale execution,^ and punished, though he 
failed to crush, the Persians by the defeat of Khaldiran and the 
annexation of a large part of their territory. After he had got 
rid of Mohammedan heresy in his dominions, he was impressed 

* Ricaut, 200-202. 2 Hammer, Geschichte, ii. 401. 


with the absence of unity occasioned by the presence of the 
Christian subjects.^ Accordingly he decided to order all these 
Christians to accept Islam on pain of death. To say that he 
desired to execute the Christians of his dominions would be to 
put the emphasis in the wrong place. He seems rather to have 
had in mind such a process as was carried through in Spain 
in the course of the sixteenth century, as a result of which none 
were left in that land who professed another than the dominant 

But here the Mufti Jemali intervened decisively. He had 
readily given a fetva authorizing the extermination of the 
heretics as in accordance with the Sacred Law, and he was 
later to sanction the Persian and the Egyptian wars. In this 
case, Selim, it is said, deceived him by a hypothetical question 
into giving a response which might be interpreted to authorize 
the forcible conversion of the Christians. After the order was 
issued, however, Jemali, awakened to the situation, put the Greek 
Patriarch in possession of a sufficient defence by showing him 
that the Sacred Law provided that Christians who had accepted 
Mohammedan rule and agreed to pay khardj and jizyeh (land 
tribute and poll-tax) were, aside from certain regulations, to be 
left unmolested in the exercise of their religion. This provision 
the Patriarch, as instructed by the Mufti, claimed to be an 
irrevocable and eternal compact; therefore, he urged, since 
Selim's intention was contrary to it, his purpose was unlawful 
and must be abandoned. The argument prevailed, and the 
Christians were not disturbed as to their faith. 

It may be remarked that Sehm's idea was an excellent one 
from the point of view of statesmanship, and would, in the end, 
have resulted in a great advantage to the Moslem Institution. 
As pointed out in the first chapter, the Christian churches in the 
Ottoman Empire constituted a group of organizations that were 
parallel and rival to the Moslem Institution; hence their removal 
would have left it a free field. Whether its unopposed action 
would, in the long run, have been an advantage to the empire 
and to the world is a matter for speculation which would be out 

^ Ibid. 536 ff.; Heidborn, 215, note 16. 


of place here; but as a state the Ottoman Empire would have 
been notably unified by the clearing away of these institutions. 
They were old, strong, and of a tenacious vitahty; in them 
centered the hopes and aspirations of the subject Christians; 
while they persisted, complete amalgamation of the population 
was impossible ; they were to keep ahve a sentiment of nationality 
and separatism that three centuries later was to break off great 
sections from the empire. It seems clear, then, that, had Sehm 
been able to carry out his purpose, the history of the Levant 
since his time would have been very different from what it has 
been. But the Mufti, as guardian of the Sacred Law, was right. 
The position of the Christian subjects rested on a firm constitu- 
tional foundation.^ The Prophet Mohammed himself, nine 
centuries before Selim, had made the religious and social unity 
of the Ottoman Empire forever impossible. He had also made 
pohtical unity impossible at that time; for in the sixteenth 
century political, apart from religious, unity was not understood 
in either the East or the West. Only in the twentieth century 
was Turkey to arrive at a new hope of political unity through an 
attempt to remove religious differences from a position of great 
influence upon the state. 

Another instance of the MuftVs power occurred in the reign of 
Suleiman, who, as a willing servant of the Sacred Law, freely 
recognized the greatness of the Mufti's position. The Mufti 
Ebu su'ud was one of the most distinguished ornaments of the 
Legislator's reign. He had passed through all the stages of 
advancement among the Ulema, and had been Kaziasker eight 
years when he was constituted Mufti. He wrote a great com- 
mentary on the Koran, and it was he who collected the best- 
known Kanun-nameh of Suleiman.^ This man was closely 
connected with one of those sorrowful events which made the 

1 D'Ohsson, V. 104 £f. 

2 See Hammer, Ceschichte, iii. 278 ff.; and Appendix III below. Heidbom, 
215, contributes further details as to the great Mufti's advance in the cursus 
honorum of the Moslem Institution. He shows that he began his legal studies 
at 27 years of age, continued them until his 45th year, was made Kazi of 
Brusa, then of Constantinople, and in his 50th year (944 A.H.) Mufti. The last 
statement seems to be erroneous; for Hammer (as above) says that he became 


reign of Suleiman, great as it was in victory, splendor, and 
learning, equally great in tragic ruin of hope. Suleiman must 
have passed through many hours of torturing indecision before he 
determined upon the execution of his eldest son, Mustapha; 
and in so great a matter he needed to consult the guardian of the 
Sacred Law. The story of the part which the Mujli played 
shall be told by Busbecq, who appears for the last time in the 
pages of this treatise: — 

" Solyman had brought with him [to Amasia, where he joined 
the army] his son's death doom, which he had prepared before 
leaving home. With a view to satisfying religious scruples, he 
had previously consulted his mufti. This is the name given to 
the chief priest among the Turks, and answers to our Pope of 
Rome. In order to get an impartial answer from the mufti, he 
put the case before him as follows: — He told him that there was 
at Constantinople a merchant of good position, who, when about 
to leave home for some time, placed over his property and house- 
hold a slave to whom he had shown the greatest favour, and 
entrusted his wife and children to his loyalty. No sooner was 
the master gone than this slave began to embezzle his master's 
property, and plot against the lives of his wife and children; 
nay, more, had attempted to compass his master's destruction. 
The question which he (Solyman) wished the mufti to answer 
was this: What sentence could be lawfully pronounced against 
this slave ? The mufti answered that in his judgment he de- 
served to be tortured to death. Now, whether this was the 
mufti's own opinion, or whether it was pronounced at the instiga- 
tion of Roostem or Roxolana, there is no doubt that it greatly 
influenced Solyman, who was already minded to order the execu- 
tion of his son; for he considered that the latter's oflfence against 
himself was quite as great as that of the slave against his master, 
in the case he had put before the mufti." ^ 

The Mufti's power in reahty went beyond the field of inter- 
pretation and entered upon that of legislation. It is well known 

Mufti in 952 (1545 A. D.), after eight years' service as Kaziaskcr. Probably, 
then, he was made Kaziaskcr in 944 and MuJli in 952. After thirty years in that 
eminent position, he died in 982 (1574). 
^ Busbecq, Life and Letters, i. 116-117. 


how much the Supreme Court of the United States of America 
has extended the powers of the federal government by the 
interpretation of the Constitution. The Mufti acted similarly, 
though with less freedom, in interpreting the Sacred Law. 
His power in this direction was recognized by some Ottoman 
Mohammedans: "The Mujti hath a spacious Field for his 
Interpretation; for it is agreed that their Law is temporary, and 
admits of Expositions according to times and state of things. 
And though they Preach to the People the perfection of their 
Alchoran; yet the wiser men hold, that the Mufti hath an exposi- 
tory power of the Law to improve and better it, according to 
the state of things, times and conveniencies of the Empire; for 
that their Law was never designed to be a clog or confinement to 
the propagation of Faith, but an advancement thereof, and there- 
fore to be interpreted in the largest and farthest fetched sense, 
when the strict words will not reach the design intended." ^ 

The fetvas of the muftis amounted in practice to a body of 
legislation which was intermediate between the Sheri and the 
Kanuns: they partook of the sacred character of the former, as 
being based directly upon it; they were, like the latter, of a 
modern and practical nature derived from recent application 
to actual cases. In the fetvas, however, nothing radical or 
startling could ever be attempted; novel features were obHged 
to be of a most inconspicuous character. The fetvas as a whole 
caused some development in the Sacred Law, but their combined 
additions were altogether too sHght to keep it abreast of the 
march of events. 

In reality, the muftis occupied the most influential position 
in the Moslem Institution and perhaps in the Ottoman state. 
Usually inferior to judges and officers of government in income 
and display, and giving no direct impulse to affairs, they never- 
theless wielded the greatest continuous power in the state, — 
the quiet, steady, almost changeless, almost irresistible, force of 
Mohammedanism. They were " guardians of the laws " in as 
full a sense as any Greek could wish. Their authority rested, 

^ Ricaut, 202. 


first, on the acceptance by the entire Moslem population of the 
absolute supremacy of the Sacred Law, and, second, on the 
recognition by the same population that they, who had acquired 
learning in the Law by long years of arduous mental labor, and 
who had chosen to continue in its study rather than take up its 
more active and lucrative application in service on the bench, 
were the persons through whom its supremacy on earth was 
rightly to be maintained. Thus by popular consent the muftis 
constituted the conservative, regulative force in the Ottoman 
state. They were destined to contribute very largely to the 
empire's durabihty, which, despite frightful shocks, disasters, and 
losses, was to continue far beyond the expectation of the world. 
The muftis did their work only too well. The idea of the 
changelessness of the Sacred Law was essentially hostile to 
progress. Although considerable flexibility was possible under 
its provisions, the flexibihty lay in its appHcation to particular 
cases, and hardly at all in the law itself. When the Ottoman 
power began to rise, scholasticism was at its height, both in 
Christianity and in Mohammedanism. From this blighting 
theological and philosophical bondage, which tended to extend 
its deadening sway over all the activities of the human spirit, 
Christendom was delivered by the Renaissance and the Reforma- 
tion. The Ottoman mind, on the contrary, continued to be 
held under it till the most recent years. That it remained so 
long in bondage, with scarcely a struggle to escape, was due very 
largely to the authority of the Ulema. They who accomplished 
much toward building the Ottoman state into a solid structure, 
and toward maintaining it against foes without and within, also 
held it nearly stationary while the rest of the world moved on. 

The Judicial System ^ 

The judges who belonged to the corps of the Ulema had 
jurisdictions that were based upon territory, and that covered 

^ This description, based on D'Ohsson's account, may represent at some points 
a development later than the time of Suleiman. No sixteenth-century writer 
seems to have gone into the organization of the system in detail. Heidborn, 220 ff., 
treats with fulness the past and present judicial system of the Ottoman Empire. 


the whole empire to an even wider extent than did the adminis- 
tration of the government. The Crimea and North Africa, 
though under vassal governments, formed part of the Ottoman 
judicial system.^ The tribunals of the judges seem to have been 
competent for all kinds of cases, whether civil or criminal, and 
whether covered by the Sheri, the Kanuns, Adet, or none of these.^ 
But, as has been seen, they were not competent to try all persons. 
The kullar, the Seids, and the members of the foreign colonies 
had their separate systems of justice; even the subject Christians, 
in matters between themselves, had their own ecclesiastical 
tribunals to which they regularly resorted. Cases concerning 
the administration of certain groups of vakf lands were tried in 
special courts, which were, however, presided over by members 
of the regular judicial body. The fief-holders had seigniorial 
jurisdiction in certain matters; and the ofiicers of local govern- 
ment seem also to have had independent right to decide cases 
outside the sphere of the Sacred Law, whether covered by Kanun, 
Adet, or unprovided for.^ The judges of the Moslem Institution, 
therefore, tried all cases involving the Sacred Law which arose 
within the empire, and which were between IVIoslem and Moslem 
or between Moslem and Christian (except when the Moslem was 
a kul of the sultan or a Seid) , as well as a large proportion of the 
cases which were outside the sphere of the Sacred Law. 

Nearly all judges were judges of cities, having jurisdiction 
also over the surrounding territory ; * exceptions were the Mufet- 

1 Hammer, Staatsverwallung, 380. ^ Postel, i. 117. 

' The Subashis in particular were closely connected with the administration of 
justice. Postel, i. 120, saj's loosely that Pasha, Kazi, and Subashi all mean 
the same thing. Chesneau, 47, says that the sultan had two judges in every 
city, a Kazi for civil cases and a Subashi for criminal cases. This is certainly 
incorrect, for the Sacred Law provided for many criminal cases, while Kanuns 
dealt with many civil cases. The Sanjak Beys and Beylerbeys held Divans, or 
councils, resembling on a lesser scale the sultan's Divan (Heidborn, 143, note 17); 
following the analogy of the Kaziaskers, the Kazi of the city in which each such 
officer resided would sit in his Divan and decide the cases that came up touching 
the Sacred Law, and would also hold independent court at other times. In cities 
of lesser importance, the Kazis appear to have been the heads of the restricted 
mimicipal governments (ibid., note 16). 

* A scheme of the higher offices in the judicial system in the early nineteenth 
century is given in Hammer's Ceschichle, ix. i-io. 


tishes of the vakf lands, the judge who accompanied the Kapudan 
Pasha on his annual cruise to the Aegean Islands, the two Kazi- 
askers, and the grand vizier. The judges were all carefully 
graded in five principal classes, three of which were each again 
subdivided into several groups. By another grouping, on a 
geographical basis, they were in two divisions under the Kazi- 
askers of Europe and Asia. The five classes were the greater 
Mollas, the lesser Mollas, the Mufettishes, the Kazis, and the 
Naibs. The general name for judge was Kazi, and the popular 
title of respect for them all was Molla; * but the official titles 
were as described above. In general, a Danishmend who aspired 
to the judicial career chose while in the law course, according 
to his ambition or ability, which of the five classes he would 
strive to enter and after entering one of them he could not pass 
to another. Each had its ladder of promotion. 

The greater Mollas were in six groups: the Kaziasker of 
Rumeha; the Kaziasker of Anatoha; the judge of Constanti- 
nople; the judges of Mecca and Medina; the judges of Adrian- 
ople, Brusa, Cairo, and Damascus; and the judges of the three 
suburbs of Constantinople, — Galata, Scutari, and Eyub, — 
and of Jerusalem, Smyrna, Aleppo, Larissa, and Salonica. These 
seventeen were in later times nominated by the Mujli for approval 
by the grand vizier and confirmation by the sultan; in Sulei- 
man's time the members of the last four groups were nominated 
by the Kaziaskers subject to the approval of the pashas.'^ Their 
positions were originally held for life, or until promotion, or dur- 
ing good behavior; and they rose by promotion from group to 
group. Each had a number of assistants, clerks, book-keepers, 
treasurers, and the like. They seem to have had superior juris- 
diction over the inhabitants, and control of the lesser judges, in 

^ Kazi is the Turkish pronunciation of the Arabic word kadi, judge; Molla is 
the Turivish form of the Arabic word vtaitld, lord. 

2 Junis Bey (below, p. 265) and Postel, i. 119, state that the Kaziaskers 
nominated all Kazis. Junis Bey says: " Two Cadilesclier talismans, one of Greece 
and the other of Natolia or Asia, and they each have revenues of 6 or 7 thousand 
ducats a year: who are executors of their law. ... it is they who appoint the 
Kadis or podestas of all the lands of the Seigneur." Ramberti (below, p. 247) 
and Nicolay, 119, say that the consent of the pashas was necessary also. 


the entire dominion of the officer of local government — Beylerhey 
or Sanjak Bey — who resided in their city.^ The Kaziaskers had 
each a large corps of subordinate officials. They controlled the 
appointment of the judges of all other classes, subject to the con- 
firmation of the sultan. The five Ulema who held high office near 
the person of the sultan — his Hoja or teacher, the head phys- 
ician, the head astrologer, and the two imperial Imams — were 
reckoned as adjunct members among the Mollas of the first class. 
They had no small influence on the destiny of the empire, as 
being the most disinterested and trusted persons who had the 
ear of the monarch. 

The lesser Mollas were the judges of the ten cities of second 
rank, — Marash, Bagdad, Bosna-serai, Sofia, Belgrade, Aintab, 
Kutaia, Konia, Phihppopohs, and Diarbekr. 

The Mufettishes were five in number, three representing the 
vakfs in Constantinople that were under the Mufti, the grand 
vizier, and the Kizlar Agha, and two representing all three of 
these exalted officials in Adrianople and Brusa. Cases concern- 
ing vakfs that might arise elsewhere were taken before the nearest 

The Kazis proper included the vast majority of the judges, 
to the number, in D'Ohsson's time, of about four hundred and 
fifty, who were stationed in smaller cities. About two hundred 
in Europe, in nine groups, and those in the Crimea and North 
Africa, were under the authority of the Kaziasker of RumeHa. 
About two hundred and twenty-five in Asia, in ten groups, and 
thirty-six in Egypt, in six groups, were under the control of the 
Kaziasker of Anatoha.^ 

The Naibs were in several groups, as judges of villages, lesser 
judges of cities, temporary substitutes for higher judges, and the 
like. They ordinarily had no salaries, but lived upon fees and 

1 Ricaut, 205. 

2 Hammer (as above, p. 216, note 4) gives a list of 39 judges of rank above the 
Kazis proper, and 243 Kazis of Rumelia, 280 of Anatolia, and 34 of Egj-pt. The 
total is thus 557 Kazis proper, and 596 judges in all. In the subsequent list of 
247 positions in Rumelia as rearranged under Mahmud II, five places in the Crimea 
are mentioned as seats of Kazis in parlibus, but neither list appears to mention 
any in North Africa. 


irregular earnings. A group of these were important in the 
sixteenth century as a kind of inspectors of public morals. 
They purchased their places, and lived upon fines — and some- 
times, it is said, upon extortions — from persons who did not 
wish their private lives exposed.' 

Exercising many of the functions of police and market judges, 
but not belonging to the Ulema, were the Muhtesibs, or lieutenants 
of police, of the various cities. Accompanied by soldiers and 
attendants, they patrolled the streets and inspected the markets, 
giving special heed to weights and measures. If they found 
that the law had been infringed, they inflicted punishment, 
whether financial or corporal, on the spot.^ By reason of the 
duty of applying sumptuary regulations, the office was often 

In every court a single judge sat, with his clerks and other 
subordinates. Cases were presented by the parties concerned, 
and decisions were usually rendered immediately and in very 
concise form. The judge cooperated with the Siihashi of the 
city, who brought before the judge persons that were summoned 
and who executed the sentences of the judges,* an arrangement 
in which lay a certain likeness to the ecclesiastical courts of the 
West, which might condemn, but left the execution to the secular 
arm. Appeal went up to judges higher in the scale, and finally 
to the grand vizier.* Costs and fines were moderate, and were 
fixed by Kanun; ^ they constituted, however, a large part of the 
income of the judges and their subordinates. The judges were 
salaried, and some of them had in addition large amounts of 
irregular earnings. The judges attended to all the notarial 
work of the empire. 

The Stibashis, Sanjak Beys, and Beylerbeys had complete 
jurisdiction over all members of the Ruling Institution who 

1 Spandugino, 188; Postal, i. 127. 

* Spandugino, 213; D'Ohsson, vi. S33- 

' Postci, i. 126. This oflicer is called by Postel Mortasi. 

* Menavino, 66; Spandugino, 211. 

^ Postel, i. 120, 124; Nicolay, 119. There was no regular organization of the 
procedure of appeal; nevertheless it was allowed (Hcidborn, 389). 
' Hammer, Slaatsverfassung, 100. See above, p. 203, note i. 


resided in their districts, as well as a more or less undefined au- 
thority in cases controlled by Kanun, Adet, or otherwise outside 
the sphere of the Sacred Law.^ In capital cases they never 
proceeded to execution without obtaining the approval of the 
judge of the city, in order to have the sanction of the Sacred 
Law.^ The decisions of the judges in criminal cases were regularly 
submitted to without a murmur, since it was felt that the judges 
represented Mohammed, " wore the robe of God," and had power 
of " sovereign sentence." * 

The highest courts were those of the Kaziaskers, the grand 
vizier, and the Divan. The Kaziaskers, besides attending to 
the cases that were brought before them in the Divan and at the 
palace gate after its close, held court at all other times in their 
own houses.^ Mohammed II had provided that, when cases 
were brought primarily to them in the city of Constantinople, 
those which concerned Moslems should come before the 
Kaziasker of Rumelia and those which concerned non-Moslems 
before the Kaziasker of Anatolia. The titles of these judges 
show their original functions as judges of the armies of Rumelia 
and Anatolia, offices which they continued to exercise in time of 
war. In this capacity, also, appeals came up to them in time of 
peace from the Subashis and Sanjak Beys in matters touching 
kullar. The power of the Kaziaskers had been extended to 
include the headship of all the judges of their respective regions, 
and the appointment of all judges, subject to the approval of the 
pashas. In the Divan, and as " Pillars of the State," they 
ranked next to the viziers; they had the first right of audience 
with the sultan at the close of each Divan; and until the reign 
of Suleiman they had had all the authority over the Ulema that 
later came to the Mufti. They had immense incomes and were 
highly honored and esteemed. 

^ See above, p. ii6. 

2 Spandugino, 211. 

3 Ibid. 

* The Arabic words kadi al asker signify judge of the army. In the sixteenth 
century the pronunciation seems to havi been kadi I'esker; nowadays it is kazi 
asker. The burdensome duty of holding court continually is mentioned in Span- 
dugino, 96; D'Ohsson, iv. 581. 


The grand vizier was actual head of the Moslem Institution 
as substitute for the sultan; accordingly his court was the 
highest court of appeal for all ordinary civil cases. It was also, 
however, like all other courts in the empire, a court of first 
instance. He decided great numbers of cases, large and small, 
for rich and poor alike. Justice was refused to no one; it was 
rendered either by the grand vizier's own decision, or by reference 
for prompt settlement to one of the Kaziaskers or to some other 

The Divan's principal deliberative business as a court was the 
trial of capital cases of great officials. Although many such 
persons were executed, it is strenuously denied that Suleiman 
ever ordered death without a trial.^ Nevertheless, the process 
was usually held in the absence of the accused person and with- 
out his knowledge; he might be at the end of the empire. In 
case of conviction a Chaush was sent to the condemned man's 
place of residence, bearing secretly a written commission, which 
was given to the nearest official who had power to execute. The 
condemned man had at best a few hours in which to settle his 
affairs and make his peace with God; then he was executed, and 
his head was given to the Chaush to be taken to the sultan as 
proof that the mission had been faithfully accomplished. It is 
said that forty or fifty heads sometimes reached the court of 
Suleiman in a single day.' 

Early in his reign, when filled with pride by his victory over 
the rebel Ghazah, and feeling warm friendship toward Doge 
Loredano of Venice, he wished to send the rebel's head to the 
Doge by a special embassy, and was dissuaded only with great 
difficulty by the Bailo of Venice in Constantinople.'* After 
Mohacs two thousand heads were set on poles about his tent.^ 
To Western eyes it seems a blot upon the noble and generous 
character of Suleiman, that he treated the heads of his enemies 
and of condemned criminals after the fashion of his time and 

1 Postel, i. 123. Heidborn, 141-143, note 15, quotes from Ypsilanti an inter- 
esting description of a session of the grand vizier's court. 

2 Postel, i. 127, iii. 8. ■* Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 11. 

3 Ibid. iii. 9. ^ Ibid. 6i. 


country. Aside from the question of barbarity and cruelty, 
however, the poHcy of summary and certain execution of offen- 
ders was essential to the maintenance of the Ottoman Ruling 
Institution in power. It was a process of pruning, by which 
every dangerous growth was cut away. Had it not been done, 
the system would have seemed today more commendable, but 
it could hardly have failed to perish quickly. A century after 
Suleiman the remark was made that what preserved the Ottoman 
state was the quickness and severity of justice for crimes which 
had relation to the government.^ 

What was the general character of Ottoman justice ? It is 
to be feared that it was often venal. A few years after Suleiman's 
death a Western writer expressed the opinion that the only 
incorruptible courts were those of the grand vizier and the 
Divan.2 Another charged that Christian subjects had unfair 
treatment before the courts, in which they were not allowed 
to testify, since some of the Moslems considered it almost a 
meritorious religious act to turn a case against a Christian by 
false testimony.^ It is probable, however, that the Ottoman 
courts in Suleiman's time were reasonably just. The judges 
were well-paid, highly honored, and carefully inspected by honest 
men who were sent out annually by the Kaziaskers; * neverthe- 
less, many of them no doubt yielded to the same desire for money 
that afflicted the kullar. In at least one respect the Ottoman 
courts were highly to be commended: there was a minimum of 
trouble because of the " law's delay." Cases were always 
decided promptly, and in clear and simple terms. An unjust 
decision quickly given is often less expensive and less annoying 
in the long run than tardy justice.^ 

Some Western observers were as strongly impressed with the 
superiority of Ottoman justice over that in their own lands as 
they were with the superiority of discipline in the Ottoman 

* Ricaut, 3. 

2 Garzoni, 430. See also Morosini, 273. 

' Postel, i. 124. Matters were distinctly worse in Ricaut's time (pp. 140-141). 

* Spandugino, 114. 

* It has been suggested (Morosini, 273) that the promptness of justice had a 
connection with the early military character of the Moslems. 


camp, or of promotion by merit in the Ottoman government 
service.' One of them said: "To understand at length their 
diligence in justice, it would be necessary to write more than I 
have done; and further, since there is nothing here [that is, in 
P'rance] so near immortality as the processes and extortions 
which men do, it gives me shame to recite so great diligence 
among people proclaimed wicked; this it is, without any doubt, 
which makes them so to rule, conquer, and keep. ... Of 
Sultan Suleiman, who rules at present, I do not wish to speak, 
for his deeds are not yet accomplished, and he cannot yet be 
praised, except for his humanity, justice, and fidelity." ^ 

The law which the judges administered was primarily the 
Sacred Law, as given in the Koran and the traditions of Moham- 
med, but especially as codified by the great doctors of the school 
of Abu Hanifa, and as interpreted in collections of the fetvas of 
great jurists. Next the judges applied the Kanuns of the sultans, 
and the customs and immunities of the regions in which they 
served.^ Finally, they had a considerable field in which to make 
use of equity: " The good sense and prudence of judges trained 
in reasoning," says Postel, " supplies and decides many things 
that are not written." •* The only resemblance to the Anglo- 
Saxon system of case law seems to have been the use of the 
fetvas of the muftis. Since the hearing of ordinary cases was 
summary and decisions were rendered very briefly, no extended 
reports were possible. The absence of printing, which was not 
introduced into Turkey until the eighteenth century, aided 
further toward making a general use of the decisions of judges as 
precedents practically impossible. In those days judges relied 
upon their own knowledge of law and custom, on the few books 
they might possess, on their sense of equity, and, in matters of 
difficulty, on the opinions of the local fnuftis. Since the judges 
were not each surrounded by a group of trained and keenly 
watchful lawyers, but acted alone except for their own sub- 
ordinates, there was more opportunity for unjust decisions by a 
dishonest judge than among English-speaking peoples. Or, to 

* Spanduejino, 211, 255. ^ Ibid. i. 117. 

2 Postel, i. 127, iii. 87. * Ibid. 


state the matter differently, Ottoman justice depended more 
upon the integrity of judges than does Anglo-Saxon justice. 
Although the Sacred Law was rigid, its appKcation to the indi- 
vidual case was adjustable, and adjustment was ordinarily 
accomplished by the decision of one man. Judges therefore 
possessed great power over the fortunes of individuals, a fact 
which in part explains the great deference and honor that was 
shown them. 

The Moslem Institution as a Whole 

A few words of summary will sketch the outlines of the com- 
plete Moslem Institution in the Ottoman Empire. It repre- 
sented and maintained the entire system that was based upon 
the life and work of the Prophet Mohammed. This system 
claimed to be sufficient for all sides of the temporal, as well as 
for the eternal, life of all individuals, and for the life of the state 
which they constituted; it also provided a place for subject 
peoples and resident foreigners of other rehgious affiliations. 
The power of the institution extended over the whole empire, 
even beyond the limits of political control. 

The Moslem Institution was firmly grounded in the allegiance, 
the fundamental beliefs, and the affections of the entire Moslem- 
born population of the empire. It is true that not all Moslems 
believed exactly alike, nor did they all practise the Sacred Law 
according to the system of Abu Hanifa. But they were all 
fiercely and proudly Moslems, and devoted to the supremacy of 
the Mohammedan system in this world, as expressed in an insti- 
tution which might not be what every one wished, but which 
revealed and maintained the power of Islam. All the Moslems 
of the empire were in a sense members of the institution. In the 
sixteenth century any one of them might hope to see his son 
mount to a very high place within the organization, since indus- 
trious study combined with native ability was all that was 
demanded. Opportunities in the way of schools were present 
nearly everywhere; and a student who once had shown his 
aptitude would be carried forward, without expense to his rela- 
tives, by funds which had been provided by sultans and pious 


individuals " for the good of their souls." The Moslem Institu- 
tion was fundamentally democratic. It was united in complete 
solidarity and perfect harmony with all in the empire who were 
attached to the doctrines of the Prophet. All believers were 
equal before God, and all were supposed to have equal opportu- 
nity to rise to places of honor in the system. 

Distinction and membership in the institution proper rested 
upon birth in the case of the descendants of Mohammed, upon 
profession of piety and special religious service in the case of the 
dervishes, but upon learned knowledge of the Sacred Law in all 
positions of public influence and importance. The three highly- 
honored classes of teachers, jurists, and judges were trained in 
the same superbly-planned educational system, in the same 
text-books and the same ideas. Whether in Constantinople or 
Cairo, the Crimea or Algiers, Budapest or Bagdad, old, grave, 
wise, and learned professors, jurists, and judges taught, inter- 
preted, and enforced the same wide-reaching and changeless 
Sacred Law. As teachers, the Ulema conveyed to children and 
youth, in impressible years, that which they had themselves 
received. The same learned persons, after fixing each part of 
the whole round of legal studies in their minds by periods of 
teaching, were advanced to places where they dealt not with 
boys, but with men, where their work affected not the fortunes 
of individuals, but the destinies of the empire. Yet their influ- 
ence was exerted strenuously in the same direction throughout, 
to impress and perpetuate the changeless body of ideas in the 
Sacred Law. Professors, jurists, and judges alike were, in all 
that they did and throughout their lives, fundamentally teachers. 
The Ulema taught all the Moslems of the empire, from the young 
child to the aged sultan. They maintained schools for the young; 
places of worship, courts, and offices of consultation for adults. 
Every important officer of administrative government had a 
judge and a mufti at his elbow. Not only was the sultan himself 
in close relations with the Kaziaskcrs and the Mufti, but he had 
always a spiritual adviser to whom he showed great deference, 
and who bore the significant title of the sultan's Hoja, or teacher. 
There was an aspect in which the Moslem Institution, based 


upon the Moslem population of the empire, fitted the govern- 
ment as hand fits glove. This figure, moreover, can be pressed 
beyond the mere comparison of shape; the hand is of much the 
same efiiciency with or without the glove, while the glove is 
useless without the hand; furthermore, the hand may live to 
wear a succession of gloves. 



The Ottoman Ruling Institution, and the Moslem Institution 
of the Ottoman Empire might be compared, contrasted, and 
reflected upon at great length. In this discussion, however, 
it must suffice to select and comment upon a few of their salient 
likenesses, differences, and interactions, without attempting 
to separate such features sharply. 


Both institutions were constructed out of old and well-seasoned 
materials. Many of the ideas in each can be followed back until 
their origin is lost in prehistoric obscurity; hardly a feature in 
either but had a clear derivation from, relationship to, or sug- 
gestion in, some prototype of pre-Ottoman days. Only the final 
structure of each, the proportion and composition of its parts, 
and the effect of the completed whole was worked out in the 
Ottoman Empire. If an attempt be made, in a very general way, 
to distinguish the main hnes of influence which led up to the two 
institutions, it may be said that the Ruhng Institution had its 
nucleus of ideas from the Turks of the steppe lands. Influenced 
by old Persian neighbors and Chinese rulers, the original group 
of ideas was brought into the Moslem Empire and Asia Minor 
by the predecessors of the Seljuk Turks and by the Seljuk Turks 
themselves. Coming into contact in Asia Minor with the ideas 
of the Byzantine Empire, and to some extent with those of the 
crusaders from the West, the system took on a large number of 
new features; and the Ottomans continued the process in Asia 
Minor and Southeastern Europe until the time of Suleiman. 
The Moslem Institution began with the ideas of the Arabs as 
combined by Mohammed with Jewish, Middle Persian, and 
Christian influences. Political notions were rapidly incorporated 
from those prevailing in Byzantine Syria and Eg}pt, and perhaps 



to a greater extent from those in the Sassanian Persian Empire. 
A compact system of ideas began early to be developed, and in the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries it reached final scholastic shape. 
Together with its institutional embodiments, it began to pass to 
the Ottomans in their earliest days; and, as the nation grew, it 
grew into the Moslem Institution of the Ottoman Empire, fresh 
power being given to it by Selim's conquest of the old Moslem 
lands, and especially by his acquisition of the over-lordship of 
the Holy Cities. The two lines of tendency which led to the two 
great Ottoman institutions were first brought into contact when, 
in the seventh century, the Arab conquest of Persia advanced 
the Moslem frontier into Central Asia. From that time to the 
reign of Suleiman reciprocal influence was exerted, although the 
Moslem ideas affected the Turkish much more than the Turkish 
did the Moslem. 

Both of the great Ottoman institutions were founded upon 
groups of ideas and not upon racial descent. This subject, 
discussed above in the Introduction, has been shown to be true 
to an extreme in the Ruling Institution, which drew its members 
from every direction except from the existing stock of the nation. 
The Moslem Institution embodied a religion of universal claim. 
Though originally given to the Arabs, the Moslem faith was 
intrinsically independent of race, as its subsequent history 
revealed. Belief, and not blood, became the sole test of member- 
ship. This common hospitality of its two great institutions 
to all who might wish to join them laid firmly the foundation of 
the Ottoman nation, and made possible the greatness and the 
permanence of its dominion. 

Both Ottoman institutions were self-perpetuating through 
education. Each had a great educational system which was 
adapted to its special character, and which was life-long in extent. 
The Ruhng Institution trained its pupils physically as well as 
mentally, whereas the Moslem Institution neglected physical 
education in favor of a greater amount of intellectual training. 
Otherwise their work was largely parallel. One institution took 
its pupils from the children of Christian subjects and neighbors, 
and trained them to conquer and to rule. The other took its 


pupils from the children of Moslems and trained them to know, 
practise, teach, and enforce the Moslem rules of law and life. 
The one system raised the ablest Christian-born individuals to 
the highest positions, and the other raised the ablest Moslem- 
born individuals similarly. Both continually brought in new 
material at the bottom, and continually worked upon all their 
material to increase its value. Each offered such rewards and 
promotions as to induce its members to put forth their most 
strenuous exertions, that they might develop their own powers 
and visibly help their institution. Whatever faults of plan and 
structure the institutions may have had, they were able to survive 
all dangers and disasters largely through the trained ability of the 
individuals whom their educational systems had brought to the 

Both institutions rose to an apex, through the Divan and the 
grand vizier, in the sultan, who was the head and center of each. 
Yet the ideas by which the two institutions were joined to their 
head were in striking contrast. The sultan was master and owner 
of the Ruling Institution; he was the divinely-appointed chief 
of the Moslem Institution, The members of the former obeyed 
him as slaves; the members of the latter obeyed him as free 
Moslems commanded by the Sacred Law to render allegiance 
to the chief interpreter and defender of that law. The former 
knew no power greater than the sultan's; the latter relied upon 
the Sacred Law as above the sultan. The RuHng Institution 
was extended downward in each of its parts from the sultan's 
authority, and in organization and membership depended for 
existence upon his will. The Moslem Institution rose upward 
from the people, and was attached almost artificially to the 
sultan's authority, Suleiman regulated the grades of higher 
advancement in it, but the sultans who came after him touched 
the organization of the institution scarcely at all. Very seldom, 
moreover, by comparison, did the sultans punish the members 
of this institution; for the most part its work went on quite 
independently of them. But the sultan was the head of both 
institutions: every member of each looked upward along con- 
verging lines which met at the foot of his throne. The highest 


promotions in each were made by him directly, the honored 
men being put into positions near their sovereign. 


The fact that the Ruhng Institution was recruited from 
Christian slaves and the Moslem Institution from Moslem free- 
men led to a profound difference of spirit. The Christian slaves, 
newly converted to Mohammedanism, were not as a body so 
closely attached to the Sacred Law as were the Moslem freemen. 
Their loyalty being rather to one man, their master and bene- 
factor, they felt a servile devotion which was very different 
from the reasoned allegiance of those who had always been free. 
A Mufti, fortified by the Sacred Law, would firmly oppose the 
will of the sovereign in a case where a grand vizier would scarcely 
dare venture a mildly contrary suggestion. The Sacred Law, 
despite the introduction of all later influences, still breathed 
forth something of the freedom of the Arabian desert: in one 
or two generations, as has been seen, it could render its fol- 
lowers unfit to be slaves. Thus the spirit of the Ruling Institu- 
tion was far less independent of personal authority than that 
of the Moslem Institution. 

As to the authority of old ideas the contrary was true. The 
fundamental distinction of parties in modern states seems to 
rest upon a greater or less relative inclination to follow old paths 
or to enter upon new ones. Both institutions of the Ottoman 
state would in modern times be classed as strongly conservative, 
but of the two the Moslem Institution was by far the more so. 
Conservatism, in fact, was of the very essence of the Sacred Law. 
The early Turks had also loved their Adet, but not so much as 
to be unwilhng quickly to adopt the new if they saw in it distinct 
advantage; the rise of the Ottoman power was, indeed, marked 
by the constant incorporation of new ideas, devices, and methods.^ 
As the Moslem influence grew, however, changes became increas- 
ingly more difficult to make; and when they were made it was by 
the activity of the RuUng Institution, usually against the resis- 
tance or the inert passivity of the Moslem Institution. 

1 The use of cannon is perhaps the most conspicuous example. 


The fact that the Ruh'ng Institution fought and governed 
while the Moslem Institution thought and judged was, of course, 
highly significant: the former embodied the active, the latter 
the contemplative, principle of the nation. Here again is invol- 
ved a difference of Turk and Saracen. In the steppe lands the 
Turk fought, obeyed, and gave orders; after the fever of conquest 
was abated, the Saracen, under Islam, thought, preserved 
intellectual independence, and worshipped. With the two 
characters placed side by side, it was in the nature of things 
that in the long run muscle would be controlled by mind. 

By comparison with the Moslem Institution, the Ruling 
Institution possessed a great structural disadvantage, in that 
it was much more artificial and therefore much less stable. 
It admitted its members as slaves, but they were not hereditary 
slaves; most of them were free-born subjects of the empire or 
of the neighboring Christian states. A class of hereditary slaves 
would not have possessed the requisite mettle. Now, the acquisi- 
tion of a large number of free-born children who can be made 
into slaves is hardly a process that can be continued indefinitely. 
Conquest had its limits for the Ottoman Empire, for boundaries 
were reached beyond which lay states whose powers of self- 
defense developed increasingly; accordingly, recruiting by cap- 
ture became increasingly difficult. But the levying of children 
as tribute was strongly against human nature; and in the long 
run it, too, must lead to decline, for under its operation the best 
were taken and inferiors were left. Furthermore, not only 
were children separated from their parents against the wishes of 
the parents, but the recruits, when they grew up, were not 
encouraged to form family ties. Even when they did so, they 
were unable to advance their children as they had been advanced 
themselves, and they could not be sure of conveying their prop- 
erty to their descendants. Thus in several respects the Ruling 
Institution ran counter to the idea of the family. On the other 
hand, the advantages given to the sultan's kullar became too 
great not to be coveted; and it was not natural that the free- 
born Moslems should continue to let outsiders be the only 
recipients of so much wealth, power, and privilege. The Moslem 


population forced its way in, and the plan of the RuUng Institu- 
tion was upset. The Moslem Institution, on the contrary, was 
recruited voluntarily from an increasing population; hence, as 
its advantages became attractive, it was benefited rather than 
harmed by pressure for admission. Its able men, while they must 
labor if they would advance, were free, unhindered in their 
family relationships, and under little fear of being deprived of 
property or Ufe. 


The two institutions, running everywhere parallel, with their 
members in constant association one with the other, could not 
fail to act reciprocally upon each other. It is not easy, however, 
to discriminate likenesses that were due to mutual influence 
from those that were caused by common circumstances; nor 
is it easy to distinguish pre-Ottoman interactions from those 
which operated after the beginning of the fourteenth century. 
A few probabilities may be expressed, however. 

It is a matter of frequent remark that men, institutions, and 
peoples are apt to impart to each other their faults and vices 
more readily than their good qualities. Whether or not this be 
true, the two Ottoman institutions certainly seem to have 
taught each other some evil qualities. Luxury, venality, and 
unnatural vices were all strongly discountenanced by the Sacred 
Law ; but all were fostered in the members of the RuUng Institu- 
tion by the very conditions of the system, and by the sixteenth 
century all had come to be charged against the members of the 
Moslem Institution as well. On the other hand, the conserva- 
tism of the Moslem Institution and its resistance to progress 
came more and more to characterize the Ruling Institution. 
Members of the Ulenia taught even the pages of the palace and 
the princes on the intellectual side of their training, thereby 
exerting a constant influence which in the course of time operated 
powerfully on the Ruling Institution from top to bottom, till it, 
too, began to acquire a changelessness which resisted improve- 
ment and progress. With such a character once established, 
the end of the empire's greatness was at hand. In a rapidly 
progressing world, a stationary position means a relative decline. 


The two institutions contributed strongly to each other's 
power and permanence. The RuHng Institution defended the 
Moslem Institution by the sword, and carried out among the 
people the decisions of its wise men. It also protected the latter's 
sources of regular revenue, and thus enabled the Ulema, secure 
of a living, to devote themselves to the study and teaching of 
the Sacred Law. The Moslem Institution, on the other hand, 
kept the Moslem population obedient and submissive to the 
sultan's authority as expressed in the Ruling Institution. It 
taught that the Sultan was divinely appointed and therefore 
always to be obeyed, no matter what his character was or how 
oppressive his rule might become, so long as he did not transgress 
the Sacred Law; and that it was for the Ulema alone to decide 
when he had made such a transgression. Accordingly the two 
institutions, so long as they acted in harmony, were absolutely 
impregnable in their position among the Moslems of the empire. 

The Relative Power of the Institutions 

These two institutions constituted, as it were, the two great 
parties in the Ottoman state.^ The Moslem Institution was 
always strongly Islamic, and extremely conservative in all 
respects. The Ruling Institution was originally Uberal both 
religiously and in its receptivity of new ideas, but it departed 
from its liberal tendency in much the same proportion that the 
Moslem Institution increased in power. 

To trace the ups and downs of the influence of the two institu- 
tions from the beginnings of Ottoman history would be an inter- 
esting problem. Much depended of course, as must always be 
the case in a despotic state, on the character of the sultan. 
With an active conquering sultan like Mohammed II or Selim I, 
the Ruling Institution would gain upon its rival; with a pious or 
mild sultan like Murad II or Bayezid II, the Moslem Influence 
would increase in importance. Selim I's vast conquests in 
Moslem territories, and his acquisition of the protectorate of the 
Holy Cities and of the title of caliph, prepared the way for a 

^ Halil Ganem, i. 201. 


later advance in the power of the Moslem Institution which was 
not in harmony with his own personal influence. Suleiman had 
a fiery active period of youth when the liberal policy was stronger 
in his mind, and a quieter old age when the Moslem influence 
became predominant; it is not unHkely that a consciousness of 
his position as caliph grew upon him with advancing years. 
But in general, through all the reigns, the power of the Moslem 
Institution grew; the only difference from reign to reign was 
in the rate of speed. The Ruling Institution also grew in power 
before the world and the Ottoman nation as long as the empire 
continued to expand rapidly; but it did not grow relatively so 
fast as did the Moslem Institution. 

The reasons for the more rapid growth of Moslem influence lay 
chiefly in the fact that that influence was cumulative. As to its 
financial basis, the Moslem Institution, like the Christian church 
in the West, gained lands and wealth continuafly, and never lost 
any ; for sultans took great pride, and high officials vied with each 
other, in founding mosques, schools, colleges, and other charitable 
and semi-public institutions supported by vakjs} In general 
moral and political influence, also, the institution gained rapidly 
through its system of education; for, like the medieval Christian 
church again, it held in its hands all the means and methods of 
intellectual development. Every new primary school, college, 
and law school, — and they were many in the days of glory, — 
strengthened the influence of this institution. In this field, 
indeed, its power acted constantly upon its rival. Old Hojas 
taught the pages in the palace, advised the sultan's mother, and 
trained the young princes and the sons of high officials. Thus 
within the nation the external show of the Moslem Institution, 
and its sway over the minds of men, grew without ceasing. 

1 Spandugino, 207: " And the Turkish lords generally, as well great as small, 
study only to build churches and hospitals and to enrich and make hostelries for 
lodging travelers, to improve the roads, to build bridges, to construct baths, and 
several other charitable works which they do in such a way that I suppose the 
Turkish lords are beyond comparison greater alms-givers than our Christian lords; 
and in proportion as they have good zeal, they use great hospitality. They volun- 
tarily lodge Christian, Turk, and Jew alike." See also Morosini, 270. 


The Ruling Institution, on the other hand, lost rehitivcly. 
In the early clays, when recent converts were exceedingly nu- 
merous and the religious spirit of the young nation was weak, the 
Turkish-Aryan organization was far stronger than the Semitic 
influence. Sultans, however, were constantly giving away state 
lands as endowment for new mosques and colleges; and, worse 
still, so much of the educational system of this institution as was 
not controlled by its rival was directed only toward its own 
membership and not toward the nation at large. Accordingly, 
although the Ruling Institution grew in wealth and power, it 
did not keep pace with the Moslem Institution, which, after 
two and a half centuries of gain, was able to overtake it about 
the time of Suleiman's reign. His gifts of great mosques, 
numerous colleges, and vast endowment,^ his arrangement in 
final perfection of the ciirsus honorum which led up from the 
primary schools to the office of Mufti, and the personal leaning 
of his later years toward the influence of the Ulema, settled 
permanently the preponderance of the Moslem Institution. 

At the same time, the Moslem Institution could never destroy 
its rival. Theoretically it had no need of such a counterpart. 
Mohammed and the early caliphs had no such institution. The 
Sacred Law developed with no mention of a secular government, 
and with no hint of any deficiency in its own provisions that would 
make it inadequate to guide a nation by its own strength; but, 
within thirty years from the death of Mohammed, Muavia had 
set up a secular government at Damascus, and since then every 
Moslem state had had one. Many a Moslem state, also, had 
had a ruler who was not of lawful blood; for the Sacred Law 
affirmed that the Imam, or divinely appointed ruler, must be of 
the tribe of the Koreish.^ According to that unenforced provi- 
sion, Suleiman himself had no right to the throne. The fact is 
that the Moslem Institution very early became too unworldly 
to live unsupported by a secular power. It was a strong but 

* He built seven mosques (Hammer, Geschichte, iii. 456), four colleges at Mecca 
{ibid. 459), four colleges around the Suleimanieh Mosque {ibid. 470), and endowed 
them all, etc. 

2 See above, p. 150. 


tender hand, which must always wear a glove. After it had 
acquired a permanent ascendency in the state, therefore, the 
Moslem Institution was compelled to keep its rival in place, and 
to allow it always strength enough to defend and support the 
empire which nourished both. 

Bound together closely in an alliance which neither enjoyed, 
but which was necessary for the preservation of both, the Ruling 
Institution and the Moslem Institution constituted the twofold 
inner framework of the Ottoman Empire, to which it owed all its 
might and energy, its grandeur and repute, its continuity and 




Written in 1534, supposedly by Benedetto Ramberti 
Translated from the Italian 

[From Libfi Tre delle Cose de Turchi, as printed in Viaggi . . . alia tana, Venice, 1543, pp. 131-146.] 

As from a laborious and very dangerous sea into a safe and very 
quiet port, one enters the city of Constantinople, after the great 
trouble and inconvenience of the ride which he has endured over the 
long road.' This city (to continue until I have here made an end of 
particular description) was anciently called Byzantium, and after- 
wards was called New Rome, and then Constantinople from the first 
Constantine. Byzantium, as it is reported, was in the region where 
Pera is now, and was so named from the river Byzantium, which after- 
ward, by reason of an earthquake such as are frequent in that region, 
changed its course elsewhere. But I do not believe this, nor does it 
seem to me to agree with the description of Polybius and other writers, 
who call those here Chalcedonians; these, when they might themselves 
in ancient times have built upon this site, did not care for it, but built 
in Asia, not having discerned the convenience and beauty they were 
leaving to others; who might deprive them even of their own site, 
as indeed happened. 

The city is 18 miles in circuit. It has seven Uttle hills, not very 
high. It is surrounded by wretched walls, and is full of houses, not 
many of which are good, being made of clay and wood and only a few 
of stone. It is full of groves, that is, of places wild and uninhabited, 
where cypresses grow, and other such trees.^ In Constantinople, 
then, is the palace of the Turkish Signor, which is a singular structure 
and very large, as will be told later. 

There is the palace of the ladies of the Signor, the palace of the 
Janissaries, the Patriarcate, the palace of the Emperor Constantine, 
which is in part ruined, the church of St. Sophia, which is a structure 
most beautiful and divine; this was built by the Emperor Justinian 
from the oldest and finest columns and marbles, as one can see now; 

^ Ramberti came overland from Ragusa on his journey from Venice to Con- 

2 The writer seems not to have observed that these groves were cemeteries. 



in part of it the Turkish Signer has made stalls for his horses. There 
is the mosque of Sultan Mohammed, which has an Imaret attached 
to it that is like a hostel ; in which they lodge any one, of any nation 
or law, who may wish to enter, and they give him food for three days, — 
honey, rice, meat, bread, and water, and a room in which to sleep. 
They say that from day to day there are more than a thousand guests 
from various nations. Near this they have baths and some fountains, 
most beautiful and delightful to behold. There are the mosques of 
Sultan Bayezid, Sultan Selim, and other Signors, which are very 
beautiful and exceedingly well-built. This makes it clear that, when 
they wash, they know also how to build houses and palaces that are 
magnificent and sumptuous. 

There is the Hippodrome, that is, the place where in ancient times 
horses were made to run as in a theater and circus: in the center of 
this Hippodrome there stands a needle, which is a column made in 
the form of a needle, very beautiful and wrought very well and wathout 
mortar, made of Uving rocks joined together in such a manner that 
they rise through more than fifty cubits, tapering in the shape of a 
needle, which rests on four marble balls.i There is a column of bronze 
in the shape of a serpent with three heads.^ There is a bronze Her- 
cules brought from Himgar}',' and in the center there is a colossal 
structure made of different beautiful marbles, in which is engraved 
the history of all the above-mentioned objects, and of other things 
which used to stand in the Theater and Hippodrome. There are 
throughout the city many vestiges of antiquities, such as aqueducts, 
arches, porphyry columns, fountains brought from the Danube and 
other near-by rivers.^ Many gardens about the houses of the great. 
Many mosques of private lords, and baths which are attached to the 
mosques of private men and of public magistrates. 

On the other side of the sea from the Seraglio Point are the hills of 
Asia, and the journey is of a little more or less than two miles; this 
Asia is to-day called by a single name Anatolia ; and there are on the 
shore there some fortresses called Scutari. Then Kadikeui, situated 

^ The writer evidently did not know that this Egyptian obelisk consists of a 
single stone. It actually rests on four bronze cubes. 

2 This was the support of the tripod of the priestess at Delphi. The heads have 
been broken off, and are now in the treasury of the Old Seraglio at Constantinople. 

2 This was overthrowTi at the downfall of Ibrahim in 1536. 

* This remarkable statement is probably the source of Nicolay's similar idea 
(p. 77). The Danube is more than two hundred miles distant from Constantinople. 


on a bay of the Hellespont/ where one can see many vestiges of antiq- 
uities; and I, when I went there, saw underground where men were 
working, a well of the finest marble with an aqueduct which came to 
the center of the well, and a canopy of fine marble supported by four 
beautiful columns. And in other places there appear many vestiges 
of old churches, both of Christians and of heathen, places indeed most 
beautiful, most pleasant, most fruitful. The situation of Constanti- 
nople is such that not only can it not be described adequately, but it 
can hardly be grasped in thought because of its loveHness. Cer- 
tainly it is rather to be considered divine than otherwise. Nor is there 
any one who has seen it who has not judged it worthy to be ranked 
above all other situations in the world. 

There are in the city besides the Turks, countless Jews, or Marrani 
expelled from Spain; 2 these are they who have taught and who are 
teaching every useful art to the Turks; ^ and the greater part of the 
shops and arts are kept and exercised by these Marrani. There is a 
place which is called Bezestan, where they sell and buy all sorts of 
cloth and Turkish wares, silks, stuffs, linens, silver, wrought gold, 
bows, slaves, and horses; and in short all the things that are to be 
found in Constantinople are brought there to market: this, except for 
Friday, is open every day. 

Constantinople is in Thrace: this has as its boundaries on the east 
the Propontis and the mouths of the greater sea, on the west part of 
Bulgaria and part of Macedonia, on the north Bosnia, on the south 
the Aegean Sea with part of Macedonia which lies toward the river 
Nishava, called in ancient times the Nesus."* 

This most noble city is inhabited by Turks: these as the more 
reliable authors have written, and as many of the Turks themselves 
have confirmed to me, had their origin in Scythia, which now is a 
part of Tartary, a northern region divided into two parts by the 
river Don: one of these parts is in Europe, and one in Asia.^ The 
European part is bounded on one side by Pontus, and on the other by 
the Riphean Mountains, and at the back by Asia proper and the river 

* Rather, of the Sea of Marmora. 

2 Marrani: Jews and Moors of Spain, baptized, but remaining true to their own 

* This statement and the following one are certainly exaggerations. 

* Either the writer's geographical knowledge or the te.\t is in confusion. The 
description here, as well as that which follows, cannot be made to fit the map. 

^ The boundary between Europe and Asia is now, of course, placed far to the 
east of the Don. 


Taspus. In Ptolemy these two Scythias are called the one intra 
Imaum moniem, and the other extra Imaum. They departed then 
from Scythia (as is said above) and began to make invasions and raids 
into their present confines: then proceeding farther, in a short time 
they became lords of a good part of Asia, but because they did not 
know how to keep only one chief among them, they had no foundation 
or firmness. This circumstance having been considered by one who 
was called Othman, a man of low rank among them, but of lofty and 
valorous mind, he thought that, by having the arm and the favor of 
some men of intelligence and authority, he could easily rule all this 
people and the conquered territory, and increase it further upon good 
opportunity: then having revealed this his thought to three persons, 
who seemed more suitable than others for this business, he promised 
that those by means of whom he might acquire the dominion to which 
he aspired, he would always maintain, both themselves and their 
descendants, in great state and dignity, and smtably to the great 
benefit which he had received from them: besides this that he would 
never harm their blood nor that of their posterity through laws that 
would lay hands upon them even if they should transgress grievously. ' 
They accepted the condition and conspired together for the sover- 
eignty ; which they obtained by astuteness, artfulness, threats, and the 
slaughter of many. These three were called, the one Michael, a 
Greek who had turned Turk; from him the Marcalogli 2 are descended; 
one of them is now Sanjak in Bosnia. The second was Malco, a 
Greek renegade; from him have come the Malcozogli, and there is 
now only one, who is Sanjak in Greece. The third was Aurami, a 
native Turk; his descendants were called the Eurcasli; it is not now 
known that any of these remain. In case the Ottoman family should 
fail, these would pretend to the sovereignty, and therefore they are 
highly respected. 

This Othman came to power about the year 1300, and lived in 
lordship twenty-eight years: ^ Orchan succeeded him and lived 
twenty-two years in the kingship. Then Murad who reigned twenty- 
three years. Then Bayezid. Then Chiris Celeby, or, as others wish, 

^ Compare Junis Bey, below, pp. 272, 273. 

2 Michaloghli. 

' More accurately, Othman, beginning in 1299, ruled 27 years; Orchan, 33 
years; Murad I, 30 years; Bayezid I, 13 years; Mohammed I (Chelebi) in undis- 
puted rule 8 years, after 11 years of civil war; Murad II, 30 years; Mohammed II, 
30 years; Bayezid II, 31 years; Selim, 8 years, until his death in 1520, when 
Suleiman came to the throne. 


Calepino, who lived about six years. Then Mohammed, who reigned 
fourteen years. ' Then Murad II who reigned 31 years. Then 
Mohammed II who reigned 32 years and was the first Emperor of Con- 
stantinople. Then Bayczid II who reigned 31 years. Then Selim 
eight years: to him succeeded Sultan Suleiman, his only son, who 
reigns at present. Of this succession it is written otherwise in some 
histories, where they treat of wars and peaces, which have been made 
by our republic in times past with this family: but since I have 
recounted these in other places, it now suffices to have noticed the 
common opinion of those who have written of the affairs of the Turks 
up to this time. And so I will go on to describe the court of this 
Signor: it is arranged in the following manner.^ 

Sultan Suleiman has a palace in the angle of Constantinople 
by the two seas: ^ this is in circuit about three miles: and in it are his 
residence and his court, which is called the PORTE. This palace, 
because it was begun to be built by Sultan Mohammed, he willed 
when dying that it should be rent-paying property of his mosque, 
and that it should pay a thousand aspers a day, which are twenty 
ducats; and this has been observed to the present.'' 

He has in the aforesaid palace countless highly ornamented cham- 
bers, but one among the others is set apart for himself: in this he sleeps, 
and he has there six youths who serve his person.^ Of these six, two 
are deputed for the serv^ice of the chamber and the Signor during the 
day, and then in the night the same ones come to keep guard when he 
sleeps: these stand ever vigilant, the one at his head and the other at 
his feet, with two lighted torches in their hands: these two then in 
the morning when they clothe the aforesaid Signor, put into one of 
the pocket-purses of his caftan a thousand aspers, and into the other 
twenty golden ducats; whatever of this money is not given away by 
the Signor during the day, remains to those who undress him at night; 
they never find much in the garments, according to report. And 
always when he goes forth to enjoy the chase or for some other purpose, 
besides the aforesaid money which he carries, he is accustomed always 

* Celeby and Calepino are forms of Chelebi, the Gentleman, which was an appella- 
tion of Mohammed I; these three names, therefore, refer to the same person. 

2 At this point the writer begins to follow the pamphlet of Junis Bey. 
' Seraglio Point is thrust out into the Bosphorus just before it meets the Sea of 

* The land on which Mohammed's palace was built had belonged to the church 
of St. Sophia under the Byzantine Empire. See above, p. 202. 

^ Junis Bey speaks of eight youths, but names six, as below. 


to have behind him the Khazinehdar-bashi, or chief treasurer; this 
man carries with him a great sum of money to be given away. 

The duty of the aforesaid six youths, who are changed according to 
the will of the Signor, is: of one to be Papuji,^ or him who bears the 
shoes, of another Silihdar, who bears the bow and arrows, of another 
Chokadar, who bears the garments, of another Sharabdar, who bears 
the pitcher of water, of another Iskemleji, who carries the stool, and 
then of the sixth to be Oda-bashi, or chief of the Chamber. These have 
a fixed salary of 15 to 20, and the Oda-bashi of 30 aspers per day. 
Next comes 
The eunuch Kapu Aghast,^ or chief of the gate, who has 60 aspers per 

The Khazinehdar-bashi, a eunuch, chief treasurer, 60 aspers.^ 
The Kilerji-bashi, chief of the butlers, 40 aspers. 
The Seraidar-bashi,^ a eunuch, chief of the palace when the Signor 
is away; he has 50 aspers. Twelve eunuchs subject to the aforesaid, 
with 10 to 15 aspers each. 

There are next about five hundred youths aged from eight to 
twenty years, who reside in the palace and are the delight of the 
Signor: they have each from ten to twelve aspers per day ; they are 
instructed in various arts according to their genius, but especially 
in reading, writing, and in the doctrine of their laws, and in riding. 
The masters are old Danishmends,* called Hojas, or doctors of the 
laws. These boys at the season of Bairam, which is like our Easter 
day, are clothed by the Signor, some with silk and some with cloth, 
without any uniformity; and each has a golden bonnet, a scimitar, 
and a bow: they never leave the aforesaid palace until they have 
reached the age when the Signor thinks them fit for offices: and 
then he makes them Spahi-oghlans, or Silihdars, or of higher degrees 
according to their worth and the favor which they have gained with 
the Signor. Each ten of them are guarded by a eunuch called Kapu- 
oghlan, or chief of youths,^ and each has a slave's frock, in which 
he sleeps rolled up in such a manner that he does not touch another 

^ After Junis Bey. The word here is " Chiuchler.^' 

2 There were two treasurers of the household, bearing the same name. One 
labored within the palace, and one without. See above, p. 127 

3 There is confusion here. The Kapu Aghasi and the Seraidar-bashi were the 
same person. The chief of the gate is rightly called the Kapuji-bashi. Junis Bey 
shows similar confusion (below, p. 263). See above, p. 126; and Redhouse, 1435. 

^ " Talismani." See above, p. 205. 

6 " Capoglano." The derivation is faulty; the literal meaning is " gate-youth." 


who may be near him. They reside in a large hall, full of great 
lights and spacious, and their eunuchs sleep in the middle of this 
hall. They have a garden in the palace, which extends more than a 
mile, in which reside about thirty-five gardeners, called Bostanjis, 
who are Ajem-oghlans: » these gardeners have from three to five 
aspers each per day; they are clothed in blue cloth, and given a shirt. 
Then when they leave the palace, they become Janissaries, or 
Solaks, or Kapujis, or something else according to their quality. 

The Bostanji-bashi, or chief gardener, has fifty aspers a day and 
many perquisites. 

The Kiaya,- who is, as it were, a lieutenant for the gardeners, has 
20 aspers per day; and each ten [gardeners] have a chief called 
Boluk-bashi. From this garden, which is very large and well- 
tended, full of excellent fruit-trees of every sort, they obtain so 
much every year that from the product of it alone they make the 
living expenses of the Signor, and also get something more. Near 
the garden are always stationed two small galleys ; these are rowed 
by the gardeners when the Signor goes on a pleasure-trip, and the 
Boluk-bashi holds the helm.^ 

The Ashji-bashi, chief cook, with fifty cooks under him. He has 
40 aspers per day, the cooks under him four, six, or eight aspers 

The Helvaji-bashi, or chief confectioner, with 40 aspers, and he has 
thirty companions with five to six aspers per day each. 

The Chasnijir-bashi,* chief of the cupboards, with eighty aspers: 
morning and evening he brings with his owti hand the dish of the 
Signor, and he has under him a hundred Chasnijirs with from three to 
seventy aspers each.^ 

The Mutbakh-emini,^ or steward, with 40 aspers. He has a secretary 
with 20 aspers a day. 

A hundred Ajem-oghlans, who transport on carts the wood of the 
palace. They have three to five aspers, and are provided with 


* " GlanizzeroHi." Junis Bey, below, p. 263, speaks of 400 gardeners, which is 
probably more nearly correct. 

^ " Protogcro." Kiaya, or by transliteration Kelhhuda, is the Turkish word. 
See above, p. q6, note 4. 

3 This should read " the Bostanji-bashi ": Junis Bey, 263. 

* The chief taster. 

^ Junis Bey, 264, says five to six aspers each. 
^ Intendant or steward of the kitchen. 


Ten Sakkas, who carry water on horse-back in leathern sacks, with 
three to five aspers each. 

The expenses for the table of the Signor, and of the youths with 
their eunuchs and others to about a thousand, amount to five 
thousand aspers a day. 

Three Kapuji-bashis, or captains of the gate, who have a hundred 
aspers a day and are clothed every year: and they have under 
them two hundred and fifty Kapujis, who have five to six aspers 
each; and each Kapuji-bashi with a third of the Kapujis is obliged 
to keep guard at the gate of the Signor, changing from day to day. 
And when any ambassador or other person goes to kiss the hand of 
the Grand Signor, all these are given presents of clothes or of money 
according to the degree of him who is introduced. 

A Kapuji-kiaya, who is, as it were, a lieutenant of the Kapujis, has 
forty aspers a day. 

Four Vizier Pashas, or chief counsellors : the greatest has ordinarily 
twenty-four thousand ducats a year and the others sixteen to 
eighteen thousand; but they have also so much feudal income that 
they receive three times as much as the provision in money. ^ To 
this should be added the garments which the Signor gives them, the 
presents of ambassadors and of others, the perquisites of the ol3ice 
they hold, which are unlimited. At present they are only three. 
The first is Ibrahim, born a Christian at Parga. The second Aias 
of Khimara. The third Kassim of Croatia, a kidnapped Christian. 
To these there is added a fourth at present,^ who is Khaireddin Bey 
Barbarossa of the Albanian nation, formerly a corsair and now 
king of Algiers in Barbary. These Pashas live and dress very 
superbly. They have: Ibrahim six thousand and more slaves, 
Aias two thousand, Kassim fifteen hundred, and Barbarossa about 
four thousand. To all these slaves they give pay, horses, garments, 
golden bonnets and silver chains,* according to their oflSces and 
degrees. And these serve their Pashas under the same arrangements 
by which the Signor is served by his [slaves]. They have also 
twenty-five or thirty chancery secretaries to the Signor, men of great 
repute, with twenty-five to thirty aspers per day each: they keep 

^ The word translated " feudal income," or " feudal grant," is " timar." See 
above, p. 100 ff. 

2 This sentence was evidently inserted after the previous part of the paragraph 
had been written. See below, p. 255. 

3 " Centola." 


more or fewer slaves as they can. These Pashas have entry to the 
Signer for affairs of state; and it is in fact they who govern the whole 
after their own fashion. 

There is next the Mufti, or the interpreter and chief of the laws; 
they do not trouble him about anything except the affairs of relig- 
ion and their faith, and he has the position which our Pope had in 
ancient times.^ 

Two Kaziasker Danishmends, or doctors of the laws for the army, 
one for Greece, the other for Anatolia. Their position is of great 
importance. They sit at the Porte and have precedence of the 
Vizier Pashas: on this account they are much esteemed. They 
are executors of the laws, and with the consent of the Pashas they 
appoint and remove the Kazis, who are like podestas for the whole 
country. They have feudal income of about six thousand ducats 
a year each. They keep two hundred to three hundred slaves each, 
and they are accompanied by ten secretaries appointed by the Signor 
and two Mochtur-bashis, who hold the office of ushers: ^ these live 
from perquisites, of which they have a great many. 

Two Defterdars, or treasurers, or rather, as we would say, gover- 
nors of the revenues. One of these has the receipt and the care of 
those revenues which come from a third of Greece, or from that part 
which is toward the Danube, and besides, from Asia, from Syria, 
and from Egypt, with feudal income of ten thousand ducats a year, 
although with the perquisites he gets twice as much. The other has 
the care of the other two-thirds of Greece: but when the Signor 
takes the field this man remains in Constantinople as his vicar and 
lieutenant; and he has six thousand ducats of feudal income, but 
gets three times as much; and their position is of great dignity. 
They have under them fifty clerks with many helpers: these keep 
the accounts of the Khazineh, or treasury of the Signor; and these 
clerks are appointed by the Signor with pay of fifteen to fifty aspers 
per day each. The Defterdars have, the first a thousand slaves and 
the second five hundred, and the clerks from two to twenty slaves 

Two Rusnamehjis, chief clerks, who receive the money and disburse 
it as needed, with twenty-five companions besides themselves. 

* This remark seems to contain a comparison between the relation of the pope 
to the Roman emperor and that of the Mufti to the sultan. Such a comparison 
would, however, be inexact. See above, p. 209. 

* " Cavalleria." Junis Bey, below, p. 265, calls them cursori. 

* Junis Bey, 266, says 15 to 20 slaves each. 


The two have forty aspers each, and the twenty-five have eight to 
ten aspers a day. 

Two Veznedars, or weighers of aspers and ducats, with twenty-five 
to thirty aspers each. 

Six Sarrafs, or bankers, who know gold and silver [coins], and they 
have ten to fifteen aspers each. 

One Nishanji-bashi, who signs the ordinances and public writings 
with the monogram of the Signor. His position is Hke that of 
grand chancellor and is of great repute. He sits at the Porte 
below the Beylerbeys. He has eight thousand ducats of feudal 
income, and travels in great honor with more than three hundred 

An outside Khazinehdar-bashi, or household treasurer, with ten 
Khazinehdars under him. He has fifty aspers, and they ten to 
fifteen per day. 

A Defter-emini, who has charge of the feudal grants: he keeps the 
register of those who receive feudal grants. He has forty aspers a 
day, and under him are ten clerks with ten to fifteen aspers per day 

Eighty Muteferrika, or lancers of the body-guard 1 of the Signor, 
these always carry lances when he takes the field; they recognize 
no other head than the Signor himself. And when by artifice or 
merit they acquire favor, they are made Aghas, or generals. The 
least has ten, the greatest eighty, aspers per day. 

A Chaush-bashi, or chief sergeant of the army. He is of so great 
credit with every one, that when he is sent by the Signor to some 
Pasha, Sanjak, or Kazi, with the order to have the head of such and 
such a one cut off, he is obeyed without their requiring a letter from 
him, or a command in writing; not otherwise than if the Signor 
himself were there, and gave command. He has a hundred aspers a 
day, and under him he keeps a hundred slaves,^ with twenty-five to 
forty aspers each. 

The Mihter-bashi, or chief of those who pitch the tents and spread the 
rugs, who sweep the court-yards and attend to other similar duties; 
he has forty aspers, a Kiaya with twenty-five aspers, sLxty Mihters 
with five to eight aspers each; and they are clothed every year by 
the Signor. 

1 " Spezzale." 

2 That the other Chaushes were slaves not of the Chaush-bashi, but of the sultan, 
is shown by the amount of their pay. See Junis Bey's testimony below, p. 265. 


An Agha, or general of the Janissaries. He has for pay a thousand 
aspers and over per day, and six thousand ducats of feudal grant 
per year. When this Agha holds court, which is two or three times 
per week, he is obliged to give the Janissaries to eat, a meal of bread, 
rice, mutton, honey, and water. He has under him a Kiaya or 
Secretary of the Janissaries, who is, as it were, a vicegerent; he has 
two hundred aspers per day of pay in cash, and thirty thousand of 
feudal grant per year.' And there is a clerk of these Janissaries, 
called the Yaziji of the Janissaries,- with a hundred aspers a day. 

A Seymen-bashi, chief of the harriers."^ He has a hundred aspers and 
has from the number of the Janissaries about two thousand under 

A Zagarji-bashi, head of the hounds.'' He has fifty aspers a day, 
and has under him about seven hundred of the Janissaries. 

The Janissaries number about twelve thousand: they have each 
from three to eight aspers of pay per day. Each ten has its Oda- 
bashi, and each hundred has its Boliik-bashi. And these heads of 
ten or of a hundred go on horseback. And the Oda-bashis have 
forty, and the Boluk-bashis sixty aspers a day. The remainder of 
the Janissaries go on foot. They are clothed once a year by the 
Signor with coarse blue cloth. They have their residence in two 
barracks in Constantinople given by the Signor. Those who have 
no wives reside in these. Those who are married reside at various 
places in the city. For their living expenses each contributes so 
much a day, and they have a steward and a cook, who provide their 
necessary living: and those who have less pay than the others are 
obliged to serve those who have more pay than they. Every 
hundred of them when they take the field transport a tent. They 
go on foot, and part of them are musketeers, and part halbardiers, 
and part use the scimetar alone. Every three lead a horse which 
carries their clothing. And when they come to old age, or when for 
some other reason the service of one of them does not please the 
Signor, they are stricken from the book of the Janissaries, and are 
sent as Hissarlis ^ or castle guards ; and those of their officers who are 
deposed for such a reason, are sent as castellans with a feudal grant 
equivalent to the pay which they had previously, in such a way that 

* Junis Bey, below, p. 266, says that the Kiaya of the Janissaries has 300 
ducats of feudal grant per year, which would equal about 15,000 aspers. 
2 " Giannizzeriasis." * " Bracchi." 

» " Livreri." ' " Assareri." 


none of them suffers hardship. Such of them as succeed in war are 
made Voivodes,^ and raised to high positions. They come as boys 
to this soldiery and are taught by the experienced ones. They 
choose healthy ones, well-built, but nimble and dextrous, lively 
above all, and more often cruel than compassionate. In them rests 
the force and all the firmness of the army of the Turk; they, because 
they are always exercising and living together, all become as it were 
a single body, and of a truth they are terrible. ^ 

From the Janissaries are chosen a hundred and fifty Solaks, who 
are footmen of the Signor, with fifteen to twenty aspers a day 
each: they march surrounding the person of the Signor every time 
he goes forth. 

Two Solak-bashis, chief ofi&cers of the Solaks, who go on horse- 
back, with thirty aspers per day. And these and the Solaks are 
in obedience to the Agha of the Janissaries. 

An Agha of the Spahi-oghlans, an oflace of great honor. He has 
from feudal grant and pay ten ducats a day, and he has a large 
number of slaves, with a Kiaya under him, or lieutenant: this man 
has from feudal grant and pay a hundred aspers a day. And also a 
Yaziji, or secretary, with thirty aspers, and with large perquisites. 

The Spahi-oghlans, or youths on horseback, who may be called Spahi- 
oghlan, are more than three thousand; and they have twenty 
to forty aspers each ; and every twenty have a 5o/M^-ia5/«'. These 
serve on horseback, each with five or six slaves and a like number of 
horses. And they always journey, and also encamp, at the right 
hand of the Signor. They are great people. From them the Signor 
is wont to choose his chief men. They are first put as boys into the 
palace, and when they grow up they succeed well if they attain this 
grade: it is like a ladder to mount to higher positions. 

An Agha of the Silihdars, who has thirty thousand aspers a day ,3 
and under him a lieutenant, a secretary, a Kiaya,^ with thirty 
aspers and more each. 

There are three thousand Silihdars. They moreover ride and 
encamp at the left hand of the Signor. They have twenty to 

* This Slavonic word seems to be used here simply in the sense of " army officers." 
2 " Immensi." 

' This is an error. Probably the number intended is three hundred. Junis 
Bey, below, p. 267, gives two hundred and fifty. 

* Only two ofiScers should be named here. The lieutenant (Protogero) and the 
Kiaya were the same. Junis Bey gives this correctly. 


twenty-five aspers per day each, and they have four or five slaves 
and a like number of horses, with feudal income for their living. 
They are trained by the same education with which the Spahis 
are brought up: nor is there any difTerence between them, except 
that the Spahis go on the right, and these on the left, of the Signor. 

Two Ulufaji-baslns, or chief officers of soldiers, with two thousand 
Ulufajis, who go on the right hand and the left of the Signor. The 
chief officers have a hundred and twenty aspers, and the others eight 
to sLxteen aspers; then under them ^ they have a Kiaya, a secretary, 
and a lieutenant,^ with slaves and with horses, some more and some 

Two Aghas, chief officers of the Ghureha-oghlans, or poor youths^ 
with eighty aspers each. Kiayas, thirty aspers. Secretaries, 
twenty-five. And they have under them about two thousand 
Ghureba-oghlans with seven to fourteen aspers per day: these have 
slaves and horses. 

Two Emir-al-Akhors* or masters of the stable, a greater and a 
lesser. The greater has five hundred aspers, the lesser two hundred, 
with lieutenant and Kiaya ^ and others, who have thirty to forty 
aspers each. 

Sixteen thousand altogether of Serraj, who have charge of bridles ® 
and saddles; Ceyssi, or stable servants; Carmandari, who take 
care of the mules; Deveji, who take care of the camels, and Cavriliji, 
who herd the cattle and horses in various places. These have 
two to twenty aspers per day each. 

Thirty to forty Peiks, or runners on foot, men who when boys have 
had their spleens removed:^ and they run post on foot with great 
speed. These when the Signor goes forth remain continually near, 
so that he may employ them according to his needs. 

Select horses about four thousand for the person of the Signor; 
on these the pages of the palace and the eunuchs ride for exercise in 
their turns. 

* Under each Agha, or chief officer. 

2 The Kiaya and the lieutenant are the same. 

' This derivation is from a secondar>' meaning; the primary meaning is " foreign 
youth." See above, pp. 98, 99, note i. 

* " Bracor-hasJti." 

* This should read " Kiaya and secretary." 
6 " Brene." 

'' This is the common report in Western writers as regards the Peiks. See 
Menavino, 155; Nicolay, 100. 


A Chakirji-bashi, chief Vulturer, and a Shahinji-bashi, chief Falconer. 
The first has a hundred and fifty aspers, and the other has eighty; 
with Kiayas, Heutenants/ and others, with ten to twenty-five aspers 
each per day. Under these are about two hundred Zanijiler,^ 
only a hundred of whom have ten aspers a day, and the others 
have feudal income, or exemption from taxation. And they take 
the field when the Signor has need. 

A Jebeji-bashi, chief armorer. He has sixty aspers, a Kiaya and 
a secretary with twenty aspers each. He has under him about one 
thousand five hundred jc^e/f 5, with seven to twelve aspers. These 
all go on foot when the Signor takes the field. 

A Topji-bashi, chief of artillery. He has seventy aspers, a Kiaya 
[and] secretary with twenty aspers: and under him are two thou- 
sand Topjis with six to ten aspers, and they go on foot. 

An Arabaji-bashi, chief wagoner. He has forty aspers, a Kiaya 
[and] secretary with twenty aspers: and under him three thousand 
Arabajis with three to six aspers each. 

A Mihter-bashi, or chief of trumpeters and drummers. He has thirty 
[aspers] per day, and under him two hundred Mihters, part of them 
on foot and part on horseback with three to five aspers per day. 

An Emir-Alem Agha, who carries the standard of the Signor. He has 
two hundred aspers a day, and is captain of all the musicians. 

An Arpa-emini, who is Provider of the grain, with a Lieutenant 
and a Chancellor.^ He has sLxty aspers, the Lieutenant thirty 
and the Chancellor twenty: this Arpa-emini has under him twenty 
persons who receive among them all about eight hundred aspers. 

A Shehr-emini,* or Commissioner of public works, who takes care 
of the streets of Constantinople, and also of the road when the 
Signor goes forth to war: and he has charge also of public buildings, 
fountains, and aqueducts. He has fifty aspers, and keeps under him 
four hundred men: among all of these is given a thcusand aspers. 
He has also a Kiaya and secretary with about thirty- eight aspers 

1 Kiayas and secretaries. 

2 This refers to those whom Junis Bey, below, p. 268, calls Zainogiler, a body of 
lancers, who are here erroneously classed with the falconers. Junis Bey's figures are 
20,000 in all, 1000 receiving pay in money. Are they the Voinaks (above, p. 131) ? 

* Junis Bey, " cursor, ^^ a messenger or porter. 

* Literally, " intendant of the town." 
^ Junis Bey says 57. 


A Berat-emini, who is deputed to distribute the ordinances of the 
Signor in writing and who receives the fees; and he has forty aspers, 
with two secretaries, and two superintendents with twenty aspers 

A Terjuman,^ or interpreter of all the languages. This position is 
highly reputed in proportion to the worth and intelligence of him 
who holds it. He has five hundred ducats of fixed income each year, 
and has also a like sum from feudal grant, and more than four 
times as much of extraordinary income; and he is wont to be highly 

Proceeding now further as I have begun, I shall leave it for another 
time and eye to reduce this Porte to better order and put every- 
thing in its proper place. I find that to all the above-mentioned 
things should be added a Palace of the ladies of the Signor.2 
This is very large, with a circuit of about a mile and a half; and it is 
provided with different chambers and other rooms, where the sons 
of the Signer reside separately with their mothers, and with a great 
number of eunuchs for their guard and service. There also reside 
the Sultanas, that is the mothers and the wives of the Signors; and 
there are three hundred damsels, placed there virgins, and given to 
the government of many matrons. To all of these damsels the 
Signor has it taught to embroider different designs, to each he gives 
pay of ten to twenty aspers per day; and twice every year at the 
two Bairams he has them clothed in stuffs of silk. And when one 
of these pleases him he does what he wishes with her, and when he 
has Iain with her he gives her a golden bonnet and ten thousand 
aspers, and has her placed in a separate apartment from the others, 
increasing her ordinary pay.' In the aforesaid Palace there is an 
Agha of the Eunuchs: to these are given a hundred and twenty 
aspers for all. Three Kapiiji-bashis, and with them a hundred 
Kapujis and Janissaries at the gate: among all these is given six 
hundred aspers a day. Ten Sakkas, who carry water, forty aspers 
in all. And the damsels are served and educated up to the age of 
twenty-five years. The teachers are the matrons, the servants are 
the youngest among them ; and when they have arrived at twenty- 

1 Usually called by Western writers " Dragoman." 

2 This was the " Old Palace " of Mohammed the Conqueror, and stood where 
the Seraskicrat, or War Office now stands. 

» Suleiman is said to have been faithful to Roxelana after he had made her his 
wife. See above, p. 56. 


five years, if it does not please the Signer to keep them for his own 
use, he marries them to Spahi-oghlans, and to others of the slaves of 
the Porte according to the degree and condition of both parties; 
and in their place he substitutes others. 

There is also a palace near Pera for about four hundred boys, 
who have pay of six to ten aspers, and are clothed with silk twice 
a year. These have an Agha and eunuchs, as have those in the 
great palace, [and] Kapujis, Ajem-oghlans and a hundred teachers 
of various arts. Among all these is distributed eight hundred 
aspers a day. They are not so noble, or of so beautiful appearance 
or show of intelligence as are those who reside with the Signor; 
but from these also many become great, and some of them are taken 
into the great palace. And similarly in Adrianople there is a palace 
of three hundred boys under pay, an Agha, eunuchs, Kapujis, 
Janissaries, and teachers, about two hundred in all, who have all 
together two thousand eight hundred aspers a day. These are of 
third grade, but they are carefully taught and well kept Hke all 
the others, and from them according to the spirit and worth which 
they show promotions are made. There is also in that region 
another palace, recently built, with a large and beautiful garden: 
this is located on the river Maritza, and in it reside about three 
hundred Ajem-oghlans; on these [palaces] they spend every year 
two hundred thousand aspers for each, and they have an Agha with 
forty aspers and a lieutenant and secretaries with thirty aspers each 
per day. In various other places in Adrianople there are gardens: 
in these reside continually as on deposit one thousand five hundred 
Ajem-oghlans with Agha and secretaries, and on these they spend 
six thousand aspers a year i or a little more. 

There is also an Agha of the Ajem-oghlans, or Janissary recruits, 
who resides in Constantinople; he has sixty aspers per day, and 
under him are about five thousand Ajem-oghlans: these they clothe 
twice a year, and on their teachers and chiefs they spend ten thou- 
sand aspers ^ a year. They put them on ships and buildings to carry 
wood and perform other tasks. They become cooks or servants 
of the Janissaries, and finally they become Janissaries. 

And every four years the Turkish Signor sends into Greece and 
into Anatolia to seize boys, sons of Christians, ten or twelve thou- 
sand each time : these he sends into Anatolia in the region of Brusa 

^ This should read " per day." Junis Bey, below, p. 269. 
^ This should read 100,000: ibid. 


or Caramania to dig the earth, so that they will become accustomed 
to hard labor, and so that there they may learn the Turkish lan- 
guage. These boys remain in such a place and occupation three or 
four years: then they are ordered to be gathered again, and are 
given to the government and discipline of the Agha of the Ajem- 
oghlans. For these the Signer does not have any expenses so long 
as they reside in Anatolia, because they are clothed and have their 
living from those whom they serve by plowing the ground and doing 
other work for them. 

It seemed best to me to make mention in this place of all the 
palaces, because they are as it were of the same body as that of the 
Signor, and all the expenses of these are computed in the book of the 
expense of the great palace, or that of the Signor. To these expenses 
are added those, which are incurred in clothing twice each year the 
Pashas, the Kaziaskers, the Defterdars, the Beylerbeys, and the 
Nishanji, and the expenses which are incurred for the extraordinary 
presents of the Signor. These in all amount to and go beyond a 
million aspers a year. 

There is also an Arsenal in the region of Pera, small and of short 
circuit: this has on the sea-front ninety-two vaults, and so little 
area and ground within that not merely no galleys but not even 
materials and timbers can be contained there. In it usually work 
each day about two hundred men; although there are under pay 
two hundred patrons with two thousand aspers per day for all.* 
A thousand Azabs, who have among them four thousand aspers. 
Foremen, or masters fifty in number, who have in leisure, that is, 
when not working, six aspers, and when working, twelve aspers 
each. An Intendant, forty aspers. A Secretary, twenty-five 
aspers, with ten clerks under him, who have a hundred aspers. All 
these fulfil their duties when there is great need; but they under- 
stand ill the trade and art of building galleys. For this reason they 
do not turn out good and ready ones like ours; and what few there 
are are overseen by Christians, who are well paid. 

Over this Arsenal and all these persons, there is one who is called 
the Beylerbey of the sea; that is to say. Lord of lords, an office 
created at the time when I was in Constantinople; since in the past 
he who was Sanjak of Gallipoli was wont to be called Captain of the 
Sea. And Khaireddin Bey called Barbarossa was the first who had 
this title; he was then made fourth Pasha. To him is given the 

1 Junis Bey, below, p. 270, says 200,000 per year. 


government of all the fleets, and he has for income every year a 
feudal grant of fourteen thousand ducats, besides that from Rhodes, 
Euboea, and Mytilene; so that he receives twice as much more. 

I find nothing else that pertains to arrangements for the rule and 
watch of the sea which are worthy of note: wherefore I will now 
come to those of the land; these are in truth well and usefully 
There is first one called the Beylerbey of Greece: in this are in- 
cluded all the lands which the Turkish Signor possesses in Europe: 
this Beylerbey is greater than all the others. He has from feudal 
grant sixteen thousand ducats a year, and gets more than double 
this. He sits at the Porte after the Pashas, ' and is of great repute 
with everybody. He has under him besides his slaves, who number 
more than a thousand, a Defter dar with feudal income of three 
thousand ducats a year; a hundred clerks who keep the books and 
accounts of the feudal grants assigned to Subashis, Kazis, Spahis, 
and others ; among all of whom are distributed ten thousand ducats 
a year. 
Thirty-six Sanjaks: these are in obedience to him, and have for 
feudal income from five to twelve thousand ducats a year each. 
They are distributed through the provinces: in these they reside 
only so long as pleases the Signor: he changes them, as seems best 
to him, from one province to another. Their duty is to rule the 
Spahis, and to have them trained in arms, and to keep them in 

Four hundred Subashis, who have among them all from feudal 
income four hundred thousand ducats, and have about five hundred 
slaves each.2 

Thirty thousand Spahis: these are horse soldiery set apart some 
to the service of the Beylerbey, and some to that of all the Sanjaks 
of Greece. They have from feudal grant two hundred ducats each, 
and each of them, for every hundred ducats of feudal income, is 
obliged to maintain an armed man, with horse and lance. And 
then they have besides the armed man two or four or five servants 
and horses. These Spahis are all slaves of the Signor, and sons of 
slaves, and of Spahis. 

Twenty thousand Timarjis who have ten to forty ducats of 
feudal income each year, and because they do not reach a hundred 

^ At the meetings of the Divan. 

2 This should read fifty each: Junis Bey, below, p. 271. 


ducats, they are not called Spahis. These have each a horse and 
two or three servants, and they serve distributed through all the 
Sanjaks of Greece. The feudal grants are by assignment of land; 
the income of this assignment they get partly from rent, but the 
greater part from the tithes of all the income, which Turks as well 
as Christians pay, and from the poll-tax, which is twenty-five 
aspers per head from Christians alone, and from the imposts laid 
on animals, fruit-trees, and other things. These imposts, moreover, 
are in addition to those which they pay ordinarily to the Signer. 

Sixty thousand Akinji, or mounted adventurers, inscribed for 
the lands of Greece and obliged to go to war without payment. 
But they are exempt from any burden, and cities and villages are 
bound to give them, when they pass through, living expenses 

There are in all Greece, that is, in all the countries which the 
Turkish Signor possesses in Europe, sixty-eight thousand villages 
of Turkish and Christian people, subject to public burdens. ^ 

There follow next six Beylerbeys of Asia, and a separate one of 
Egypt. The first of these is called the Beylerbey of Anatolia which 
was anciently Asia Minor: he has from feudal income fourteen 
thousand ducats, but gets a great deal more. This man has under 
him and in his government Pontus, Bithynia, Asia proper, Lydia, 
Caria, and Lycia: these provinces under a single name are called 
at present Anatolia. This man's place at the Porte is after the 
Beylerbey of Greece. And he has under him, besides his own slaves, 
who are more than a thousand, twelve Sanjaks with feudal income 
of from four to six thousand ducats each. Ten thousand Spahis, 
with five to ten aspers a day, and also more or less feudal income 
according to their degree. Next after these follows 

The Beylerbey of Caramania, which was anciently Cilicia and 
Pamphylia, with feudal income of ten thousand ducats. This man 
has under him seven Sanjaks with four to six thousand ducats of 
feudal income each, and five thousand Spahis, with five to ten aspers 
a day each and feudal income besides. 

The Beylerbey of Amasia and Tokat, which was Cappadocia and 
Galatia, with feudal income of eight thousand ducats. Four 
Sanjaks with four to six thousand ducats of feudal income each. 
Four thousand Spahis with five to ten aspers a day each and feudal 

1 " Che fanno fattione." 


The Beylerbey of Anadole, which is a region between Syria, 
Caramania, and Tokat, which was anciently Paphlagonia, and is 
the half of Armenia Minor. He has ten thousand ducats of feudal 
income, and under him seven Sanjaks with four to five thousand 
ducats of feudal income. Seven thousand S pah is, with five to ten 
aspers per day and feudal income. In this province of Anadole, 
they say that when the Signor is there, besides the paid troops thirty 
thousand persons are obliged to ride without any pay, but only 
with expenses from the villages. 

The Beylerbey of Mesopotamia, under whom is the remainder of 
Armenia Minor and part of the Major, the other parts belonging 
to the Persians and the Kurds. This borders with Bagdad, or 
Baldach, which was anciently Babylonia. He has of feudal income 
thirty thousand ducats: and besides his own slaves, who number 
two thousand, he has under him twelve Sanjaks with feudal income 
of four to six thousand ducats a year, and ten 1 Spahis with ten to 
fifteen aspers per day each, and with large feudal income because 
of being at the confines of the Persians: with these they are contin- 
ually in conflict. 

A Beylerbey of Damascus and Syria and Judea, with feudal income 
of twenty-four thousand ducats; he has more than two thousand 
slaves, and under him twelve Sanjaks with feudal income of five to 
seven thousand ducats, and twenty thousand Spahis with ten to 
fifteen aspers per day each and with good feudal income. 

A Beylerbey of Cairo: he holds jurisdiction as far as Mecca, or 
as far as into Arabia: this Arabia is possessed by the Turkish 
Signor in the way in which he possesses Albania, where he is not 
yielded such obedience as he is accustomed to receive from all his 
other states and countries. But [Arabia] Felix stands in somewhat 
greater obedience than the rest. He has for feudal income thirty 
thousand ducats, with numerous slaves: these amount to more than 
four thousand; sixteen Sanjaks with feudal income of six to eight 
thousand ducats each; and sixteen thousand Spahis with fifteen to 
twenty aspers each per day. 

Near Mecca, and the countries of the Persians, are some Arabic 
lords who do not obey any one. The rest ^ then borders the 
Persians as far as Mesopotamia, in which is Bagdad.^ Passing 

^ This should read " ten thousand " : Junis Bey, below, p. 272. 

2 Of the Turkish possessions in Asia. 

3 " Maldac" 


Mesopotamia it borders the Persians again to the plain of Naximan, 
then touches Erzinjan • and Erzerum, which are the chief places 
of Armenia Major. This Armenia borders with the Iberians and 
Georgians. In these Armenias, Major and Minor, are many- 
Kurds, people of the mountains and warlike, those of [Armenia] 
Major obedient partly to the Turkish Signor, and partly to the 
Persian; those of [Armenia] Minor to no one. Next Trebizond 
borders with the Georgians and Mingrelians, and with part of 
the Iberians, which people were anciently called Colchians. And 
Ajemia,2 which anciently was Assyria, belongs to the Persian: he is 
absolute master of it. 

There are in all Anatolia, or in all the countries which the Turkish 
Signor possesses in Asia, villages of Turks and Christians to the 
number of more than seventy-two thousand, not counting those 
which are in Egypt, which are many. 

The Sanjaks truly [set forth]: these (as I said above) have under 
government the provinces entrusted to the Beylerbeys; they are 
men of much and very great reputation and esteem, especially in 
the affairs of war; they are named as below by the names of the 
places which are given to their government. And first the Beylerbey 
of Greece holds as his sanjakate the places about Salonika. Then 
follow the others of Kaffa, Silistria, Nicopolis, Vidin, Semendria, 
Servia and Belgrade,' Zvornick, Bosnia, Hersek, which is the Ser\aa 
called the Duchy,'* Scutari, Avlona, Yanina, KarU IH, Lepanto, 
Morea, Negropont, Trikkala, Gallipoli, Kirk-Kilisse or Forty 
Churches, Viza, Chirmen, Kostendil, Vishidrina, Prisrend, Okhrida, 
Alaja Hissar, Elbassan, Voinuch, Chiuchene, Zaiza. These are 
usually counted thirty-five, but five are regions united to neighbor- 
ing places, namely PhilippopoHs, Sofia, Durazzo, Albania, and Uskup. 

Anatolia, or Asia Minor: Pontus, Bithynia, Lydia, Caria, and 
Lycia. The sanjakate of the Beylerbey is at Kutaia. And the 
others are in Hoja-ili, Boli, Kastamuni, Angora, Kanghri,^ Tekke- 
ili, Menteshe-iH, Aidin-ili, Alayeh,*' Bigha, and Manissa,^ which is 
that of Sultan Mustapha, the oldest son of the Signor. This place 
is opposite the middle of Chios near the sea. 

^ " Esdum." Junis Bey, below, p. 272, has " exdrun." 

^ More correctly, Irak Ajam, north-central Persia. 

' Junis Bey, 273, counts these as two, and the whole number as thirty-six. 

* Herzegovina. « " Hallnyce " or " Allaye." 

^ " Cangri." '' The ancient Magnesia. 


Amasia, and Tokat, which is Paphlagonia, Galatia, and Cappa- 
docia. The sanjakate of the Beylerbey is in Amasia, of the others 
in Chorum, Janik, Kara-hissar, Samsun, Trebizond. 

Caramania, which is CiUcia opposite Cyprus and PamphyUa. The 
sanjakate of the Beylerbey is in Konia. The others have theirs in 
Naranda, Hissar, Eski-hissar, Versag-iH, Sivri-hissar. 

Anadole, or Armenia Minor. The sanjakate of the Beylerbey is 
in Marash. Those of the others in Sarmussacli, Albistan-ovassi,^ 
Adana, Tarsus. 

DiARBEKiR, or Mesopotamia, and part of Armenia Major, of which 
the remainder belongs to the Persians and the Kurds. The san- 
jakate of the Beylerbey is in Diarbekir, And the others have 
theirs in Kara Amid, Arghana, Toljik, Hassan-Kief, Mardin, 
Kharput, Mosul, Erzerum, Baiburt, BitHs, and Naximan-ovassi. 

Syria, and Judea. The sanjakate of the Beylerbey is in Damas- 
cus. Of the others in Malatia, Divirigi, Aintab, Antioch, Aleppo, 
Tripoli, Hama, Homs, Safita, Jerusalem, Gaza. 

Egypt, with part of Arabia Deserta as far as Jeddah; 2 Mecca, 
with all of Arabia Felix, where are many Arab lordlings, who are 
partly in devotion to the Turkish Signor, partly to no one. The 
sanjakate of the Beylerbey is in Cairo, and of the others. . . .^ 

All the aforesaid Sanjaks, Beylerbeys, Pashas, and other officials have 
salary or feudal income, as I have said above, by fixed arrangement, 
that is, regularly: but they obtain from extraordinary sources 
about as much more. And they Hve with very great expenses for 
slaves : these they are accustomed to clothe and they give them also 
wages besides, so that they will not steal. 

How great the revenues of this Signor are, may be estimated 
from the expenses. These revenues are obtained from the Kharaj, 
which is paid by the non-Turkish subjects; this gives a million and 
a half ducats: from the tax on animals, which gives eight hundred 
thousand ducats: from mines, which give six hundred thousand 
ducats: from countless other duties, salt-taxes, commendations, 
inheritances, gifts, the revenues of Egypt over and above the 
expenses, rents, and tributes. And they are so great that they not 
only meet the expenses, which amount besides the feudal income in 
ready money drawn from the Treasury to more than twelve thou- 

^ The plain of Albistan. 

2 " Alziden." 

^ Evidently the writer intended to fill these in, but failed to secure the names. 


sand ducats a day; > but there remains over a great sum of money 
from the surplus of each year. And it is beheved that all the reve- 
nues amount to fifteen millions in gold; five of which enter the 
Treasury, and the other ten remain for the servants of war.^ 

^ This amounts to about four million ducats a year. 

'^ The reference is, of course, to the feudal Spuliis and their officers, who then 
received according to this estimate two-thirds of the revenues of the empire. 


Printed in 1537. Presented in the original Italian. 


tutto il gouerno del gran Turcho & tut- 
ta la Spesa che il gran Turcho ha sot- 
to di lui cosi in pace como in guerra 
& il numero de le Persone & no- 
me & gouerno de le sue Don 
ne & Garzoni che lui tene 
nel Serraglio serrati & 
de tutta la Entrata che 
lui ha a lanno & no 
mina tutti li Si- 
gnori de le sue 
E il nome de tutte le sue terre chelha 
sotto se : & la ordinaza del suo Cam 
po quado ua ala guerra como 
ua in ordinanza tutte le 
persone a sorte per 
sorte & come 
uanno e 
che arme portano. Nouamente stam- 
pata nel M D X X X V I I. 

Il Signor grade cioe il gra Turcho ha uno serraglio principale doue 
tene la sua sedia, & ha una camera deputada per lui doue dorme, 
& al gouerno dessa ha 8. gioueni ch' lo uestano e sue stano doi al 
giomo deputati ala guardia, & seruitii suoi, & la notte li fanno la 
guardia uno da capo, laltro da piede con due torce accese: & ql 
li doi che li hano fatto la guardia la notte lo uestano la mattina, & 
li mettano ne la Scarsella del dulimano cioe de la casacha sua aspri 
Mille uno aspro ual soldi do di Milano, & in laltra duchati 20 doro: 
questi dinari sel Signor no li dona uia quel giomo restano a colori 



chio spogliano la sera, & qsti giouani hano uno capo ch'si domada 
Oddabassi cioe capo de li camarieri uno Papugi che li porta le 
scarpe, laltro Selictare che porta larco & frezze, laltro Ciochadar 
ch'li porta le ueste, laltro Seracter che li porta il mastrapa zoe il 
rami dalacq, laltro scheni ch' porta la sedia questi sono li nomi che 
hanno li otto gioueni, & il capo de questi cioe Oddabassi ha aspri 30. 
al di di soldo, & li altri 8. gioueni hano chi 15. chi 20. aspri per uno 
secondo il loro grado. 

El Capagasi e monuco cioe castrato & e portinaro de la porta del gran 
Turco ha aspri 60. di soldo. 

El Capiagabasi cioe il capo del Serraglio doue sta il Turcho quado 
il Signor e fora de Costantinopoli ha aspri 50. & ha sotto lui 12 
mouchi cioe castrati che hano aspri 16. al di per uno di soldo & 

El Casnadarbasi e monucho, cioe Tesorero de la Saluaroba del Signor 
ha aspri 60, al di di soldo. 

Ha in el serraglio il Sgnor gioueni de anni 8. fino in 20. numero 700. 
che hano di soldo al giorno chi 10. chi 14. secondo il suo grado & 
sono uestiti dal Signor qsti hano maestri che li insegnano a legere e 
scriuere & la lege loro, & como escano del serraglio hanno nella 
porta cioe ne la sua corte officii chi Spacoglai chi Selictari chi Sola- 
chi & altri stipedii secondo gratia e ualore loro. 

Spacoglani sono getilhomini che cortigiano il Signor quado caualca: 
& li Sehctari sono qlli che uano alia ma sinistra del Signor qndo ua in 
campo: & li Solachi sono stafTeri del Signor, & li suoi maestri sono 
Talasimai uecchi detti Cogia dotti nella lege loro, cioe sacerdoti & 
questi putti sono ogni 10. in gouemo d'uno monucho detto Ca- 
pogliano, ognuno ha imo schiauinotto nel qual dormino detro la 
notte de sorte che non si toccano insiemo & stanno in uno salotto & 
li Monuchi dormeno in mezo desso salotto & stanno le lume accese 
tutta la notte. 

Ha uno giardino nel serraglio che uolge circa doi miglia doue stanno 
circa 400, putti giardineri detti Bustagi sono lanicerotti, & hanno 
uno capo che si domanda Bustagibassi che e sopra tutti li giardini 
del Signor ch' sono moltie lui ha aspri 40. il di di soldo & altre molte 
regalie & a li giardineri chi 3. chi 5. aspri al di & sono ognuno ue- 
stiti del Signor di pano azuro turchesco & una gamisa e uno paro 
di braghe do uolte a lanno & quado escano del serraglio che sono 
gradi diucntano lanizari cioe guardiani del Signor. Solachi 
cioe staffieri & Capigi cioe Portinari: & il ditto Bonstagibassi e 


qllo ch'e timonero quado al Signer ua in Fusta hano uno ptoiro 
cioe loco tenente che ha aspri 20. al di & ogni 10 de detti hano uno 
capo ditto Balucasi che ha aspri 20. il di & questi putti uano 
per tutto dentro del SerragKo & mai escano fino che non sono 

El Signor ha due Fuste che li nauegano li sopraditti giardineri, & lo 
capo loro sta al timone con le quale il Signor ua a spasso assai per 
canale & a li giardini lor. 

El calualgibasi capo de le cofettioni ha aspri 40. il di con 30. homini 
sotto di lui & hanno chi 5 chi 6, aspri al di. 

El Vechilargibasi capo deli despesieri ha aspri 40. il di c6 uno scriuano 
CO aspri 20 il di di soldo. 

El Cessignirbassi capo de li cardeceri ha aspri 80. il di & questo porta 
la sera & mattina il piato al Signore & ha sotto di lui homini 100. 
che hanno chi 5 chi 6. aspri al di di soldo. 

Vno Asgibassi capo de li coghi ha aspri 40. al di & ha da circa 80. 
coghi sotto di lui che hano chi 5. chi 6. chi 8. aspri il di, & ha da 
80. lanicerotti da 10. in 20. anni ditti baltagi cioe taglia legne 
che tagliano le legne per la cucina del signore & per tutto il serraglio 
che hanno da 3. in 5. aspri il di per uno & sono uestiti dal Signore. 

Ha circa 20. garzoni lanicerotti carretteri che portano con li carri le 
legne nel serragUo & hanno aspri 3. in 5. al di & sono uestiti dal 

Sacha 10. cioe acquaroli che portano lacqua con li caualli nel serraglio 
hanno 3. in 5. aspri il di & uestiti dal Signore. 

Vna stalla con 200. caualli per la psona del Signore con 100. homini al 
gouemo suo che hanno aspri 5. in 8. al di soldo per uno. Vnaltra 
stalla con 4000. caualli per li scliiaui soi con 2000. homini al suo 
gouemo che hano da 3 in 5 aspri di di soldo & spesa. 

II gran Turcho ha molti giardini & si uendano 11 frutti & del tratto di 
essi si fa le spese a lui per essere entrate licite, & il suo serraglio 
paga di liuello aspri 1000. al giomo a la moschea cioe a la gesia del 
padre de suo padre Soltan memet. 

Spesa nel piato del Signor aspri 5000. & per li garzoni soi aspri 2500. 
ogni giomo. 

Vno Capigilarchi caiasi idest gouemator & capo de tutti li capigi cioe 
di portineri de la porte ha aspri 500. il di: & 3 capigibassi de la 
porta del signore hanno aspri 100. il di & uestiti, sotto qste sono 
Capigi cioe Portinari numero 250. chi hanno aspri 57. il di per uno, 
& questi fanno la guardia a la porta del Signor di 24. in 24. hore, & 


quando qualche Ambasciator ua a basciare la mano al Signor 
bisogna chel presenta tutti costori. Vno Capigi la che chi si 
Protoiro idest locotenente di Capigi ha aspri 40. il giomo, 

El Ciausbasi capo de li ciausi c6 100. ciausi sotto lui qsti sono homini 
gradi & quado uano pfare morire alcuno sia dassai quato si uoglia 
sono obediti senza altra comissione in scritto, & qndo il Signor 
caualca uano semp' inaci a ui faciado fare largo, hano di soldi da 
aspri 25. sino in 40. al di secudo lor grado & il ciaubasi ha aspri 200. 

El Mecterbasi capo de quelli che destendano li padiglioni & tapedi & 
spazzar la porta & altre simile cose ha aspri 40. il di con il sue 
Protoiro che ha aspri 20. il di con 60. homini sotto di lui che si 
domandano Mecteri che hanno aspri 5. in 6. il di per uno & sono 

Sono ordinatamete 4. Bascia soi cazelleri e coseieriel primo ha duchati 
24000 di entrata a lanno: li altri tre hano chi 16000. chi 18000. 
duchati a lanno & li sono date entrate doue cauano il tutto, & hano 
molte altre regalie & psenti. 

Abrain eora de la pargha albaneso e morto, hora li e Aiisbassa de la 
sinita ch' e il pricipale Albaeso uno altro mostafa bas cia che 
mamalucho di Alchayro & uno Casin bascia ch'e Crouato & 
Cayradibeii cioe Barbarossa ch'era greco di meteli Isola & niuno 
puo essere bascia se non Christiani renegati. Ayas ha numero 
600. schiaui. Mostafa ne ha numero 200: Casin crouato ne ha 
numero 150. Barbarossa ne ha da numero 100. A liquali danno 
soldo caualli scutie doro & spade fornire dargento & di questi essi 
Bascia fanno la corte loro & sono uestiti da essi Bascia. 

Doi Cadilescher talasimani uno de la Grecia laltro de la natolia cioe 
Asia, & ha di entrata ducati 6 in 7 milia a lanno per uno : qsti sono 
executori de la lege loro & hano 10. homini executori per uno dati 
dal Signor sono qlli che metteno li Cadi cioe podesta per tutto il 
paese del Signor & quado uanno dal Signor entrano auanti deli 
Bascia hanno per uno mocturbasi cioe cursor, & como cauallieri 
de li executori & questi tutti uiuano di regahe, hano lo Cadile- 
scheri 200. in 300. schiaui per uno che se ne fanno la lor corte. 

Doi Defterderi cioe thesoreri uno di Asia laltro di Europa che scodano 
tutte le entrade del Signor & gouemano quasi il tutto hanno di 
entrada ducati sie in sette milia a lanno per uno, & hanno 200. 
schiaui per uno & ne fanno la lor corte. 

Hanno qsti Defterderi 50. scriuani per uno con li cogitori quali tengano 
conto del thesoro del Signor, questi scriuani sono posti dal Signor 


con soldo di 15. in 50. aspri al di per imo secondo il grado loro & 

hano 15. in 20. schiaui per uno. 
Secretarii 25. posti dal Signer che hanno 25. in 30. aspri il di & suoi 

schiaui sono doi Rosanamagi idest capi de li scriuani che reuedano 

li coti & ch' receuano dano fora con 20. copagni sotto loro doi, 

hanno aspri 40. il di & li 25. compagni hano aspri 8. in 10. al di per 

imo di soldo. 
Cinque Seraferi idest Bancheri che uedano tutto li danari che si 

scodano hanno aspri 10, in 15. al di di soldo. 
Vno Tescheregibassi che segna tutti li commandamenti del Signor ha 

di entrata ducati 7000. & 300. in 400. schiaui. 
Vno Casmandarbassi di fora con 10. Casandari il capo ha aspri 50. 

il di & ha aspri 10. in 15. al di di soldo sintede sopra la saluaroba 

del Signore di fuora del serraglio. 
Vno Defterdaro emino cioe douanero sopra le intrade & tene il libro 

de li timarati ha aspri 40. il di con lo scriuano che ha aspri 10. in 15. 

al di. 
Vno Agha de laniceri cioe Capitano de tutti li laniceri che ha intrata 

duch. 7000. lano, & ha aspri loooo. per far pasto a li lanizari 

quado el da audietia in casa sua che 2.03. uolte la settima na le da 

& ha 400. schiaui sotto se questi lanizari sono la guardia del Signor 

tutti schiopetteri & uanno a piede. 
Vno Gachaia de lanizari cioe locotenete ha 200 aspri di & ducati 300. 

di timaro cioe entrata a lanno con 25. schiaui suoi. 
Vno Scriuan di lanizari che tien contro de loro lanizari ha aspri 100. 

al di & circa a 200 schiaui. 
Secmebassi capo di brachi da caza ha aspri 100. il di & ha del numero 

di laizari 200 sotto di lui. 
D Zarcagibassi capo de li liureri da cazza ha aspri 50 il di & ha del 

numero di lanizari 700. sotto di se che menano li cani a spasso 

quado bisogna. 
Sono li lanizari numero 12000. li quah hanno da 3. sino in 8. aspri il di 

di soldo & ogni 10. hanno il suo Odabassi cioe capo de numero dece 

& ogni cento hanno il suo capo che si domanda Bolucbassi, & li 

capi loro quando uanno in capo uano a cauallo & hano aspri 40. 

in 60. al* di per vno secondo il grado loro. 
De li lanizari si caua da 150 solachi che sono staferi dil Signor & 2 

solachibassi capi de qlli & tutti sono sotto lagha de lanizeri, & 

sono vestiti vna volta alanno dil Signor di pano azuro, & hano le 

* At this point the smaller type begins. See below, p. 315. 


stantie loro in 2 lochi in Constantinopoli fatto fabricare dil Signer 
& li stano qlli che non hano moglie li maritati stano sora c6 le 
done loro, & nel vitto ogniuno mette tato al di & hano dispesieri 
choghi & qlli che hano pocho salario seruan al altri, & ogni 100 di 
loro quado vano in capo portano vno padiglione, & sono soldati 
apedi schpeteri & alabarderi e simitarre. Quado li ditti venghano 
in desgratia dil Signoro in veghieza si madan a sario zoe castelli che 
sono guardiani & si cassano del libro de lanizari & hano entrate 
equalmente al suo primo soldo & li capi loro similmente vano 
castellani con timaro vtsupra. 

Vno agha di Spachoglani capo cioe di destri giouene gentilhomo che 
a tra timaro e soldo ducat 10 il di con reghalie & 400 schiaui. 

Vno laxagi scriuano de questi spacoglani ha aspri 30 il di con reghalie 
& 30 schiaui. 

Vno Cacaia de ditti zoe protoiro a tra timaro soldo aspri 100 al di. 

Sono li Spachoglani 3000 che hano aspri 20 in 40 il di secondo il grade 
loro & ogni 20 hano vno capo domandato Bolucbassi & questi 
seruano a caualo con 506 schiaui & altri tanti caualli per vno 
questi vano sempre ala man destra dil Signor, & alogiano appresso 
a lui in campo. 

Vno Agha deto Selicterbassi capo de li sinistri che sono ala ma sinistra 
dil Signor ha aspri 250 il di & vno Protoiro cioe loco tenete & vno 
scriuano co aspri 30 il di per vno questo Aga e capo di 3000 Selictari 
a cauallo che stano a la man sinistra dil Signore & hano aspri 20 
in 25 al di p vno & hano 4. o. 5. schiaui & altri tanti caualli & lui 
capo a 200 schiaui soi. 

Doi Holofagibassi da la man destra & sinistra uno per banda capi de li 
soldatia aspri 120 al di & hano 200 Holofagi sotto se c6 aspri 16 
il di pervno il suo logo tenente co aspri 20 e vno scriuano co aspri 
20 & vano a cauallo con 2.03. caualli & tanti schiaui. 

Doi Aga capo de li carippoglani zoe poueri gioueni che hano aspri 30 
il di per vno co il suo protoiro & scriuano con aspri 1 5 in 30 al di & 
sono li Carippoglani numero 2000 che hano da 7 sino in 14 aspri al 
di per vno li capi hano 25 schiaui per vno. 

Doi Bracorbassi zoe maestri di stalla vno grande vno picolo il grade 
a aspri 500 il di, & il picolo ne a 200 al di di soldo con protoiro & 
scriuano con 30 sino in 40 aspri il di per vno. 

Sedici milia Sarachi zoe famigli che cozano brene & selle Caysli zoe 
fanti di stalla Carmadari zoe mulateri deuegi zoe gabeleri che vano 
dreto a gambeli circirgli zoe mandreri che pascolano le madre de li 


caualli in varii lochi hano di soldo da 2 sine i 20 aspri il di pervno 
secodo il grado lore chi pui che meno. 

Caualli da caualcare per il Signor & soi puti & monuchi zoe castrati 
numero 4000. 

Vno Zarchigibassi capo de li astori che al di soldo apri 150 il di & 
schiaui & vno Zarchigibassi capo di falconeri che a aspri 80 il di & 
schiaui con il sou protoiro & scriuano con aspri 25 per vno al di. 

Vintimilia zainogiler homini a cauallo di laza & mill soli de questi 
hano soldo aspri 10 il di & resto hano timari o vero exemption di 
angarie per essere homeni dil Signor & vano in campo. 

Vno hebegibassi capu de le armature a aspri 60 il di con il suu protoiro 
& scriuan con aspri 20 per vno di soldo & a da 160 Ebegi zoe famigli 
sotto se con 7 fino in 10 aspri il di per vno, & vano a pede. 

Vno Topgibassi capo de li bombarderi che ha aspri 60 il di con protoiro 
& scriuan con aspri 20 pervno & a 2000 Topgi sotto se zoe bom- 
barderi CO 6 sino in 10 aspri il di soldo per vno o vano a pede, 

Vno Arabagibassi capo de li careteri a aspri 40 il di con protoiro & 
scriuano con aspri 20 per vno & a 1000 Arabagi zoe careteri sotto 
se con 3 sino in 6 aspri il di per vno. 

Vno Mecterbassi capo de li trombeteri & tamburini a aspri 30 il di 
con protoiro & scriuan con aspri 12 p vno di soldo al di & a 12 
millia compagni sotto se che hano di soldo 3 sino in 5 aspri il diper 
vno parti vano a piedi & parti a cauallo & altre regalie. 

Imralem aga Capitanio che porta il stendardo dil Signor a di soldo 
aspri 200 al di & e sopra tutti li mecteri zoe trombetti & tamburini 
& banderali. 

Vno Arpaemin prouiditore de le biaue per il campo con vno protoiro 
& vno cursor le emin a aspri 60 il di protoiro a aspri 30 il cursor 
aspri 20 al di di soldo & a 20 persone sotto di lui con aspri 800 al di 
fra tutti quelli 20 persone. 

Vno Saremin prouiditore de comun a cozare le strade & fabricare in 
Constantinopli a aspri 50 il di, & a sotto di lui 400 homeni co aspri 
1000 al di fra tutti co protoiro & scriuano co aspri 57 il di per vno. 

Vno Baratemin che dispensa tutti li comandameti & che scode li 
denati de li ditti a aspri 40 il di & a 2 scriuani & doi soprastanti con 
aspri 60 il di per vno di soldo. 

Vno Seraglio di donne in Constantinopli che circoda vno migUo e 
mezo CO stantie & camere done stano li figlioli separati luno da 
laltro CO loro madre & monuchi, & soltane zoe molier dil Signor & 
li sono da 200 in 300 dozelle sotto la custodia di molte matrone 


veghi alequa il Signer fa inscgnare a arica mar diuersi lauori & a 
cadauna li da di soldo asp 10 fino in 20 per vna secondo il grado 
loro & ogni anno doi volte a li bairami zoe a le sue pasque li veste 
tutte di setta, & lequal donzelle quado place alcuna desse al Signore 
lui sta con lei & fa il fatto suo, & como la hauta li dona vna schufia 
doro che val due. 200 & aspri 10 millia di cotadi & la fa stare in vna 
camera separata da le altre & li cresse i soldo suo & qlla che fa 
prima fioli quella e la sua moglie prima. 

In ditto seraglio & de tutti li altri monuchi zoe castrati che sono in 
detto seraglio a aspri 60 il di di soldo & stano in questo seraglio 20 
monuchi & hano aspri 120 il di tra capigibassi zoe portinari & 
lanizari nu. 100 a le porte p guardia hano aspri 500 al di fra tut- 
ti & numero 10 Sacha che portano laqua detro zoe aquaroli & 
hano aspri 40 al di fra tutti di soldo. 

Quando le donzelle sono in eta de anni 25 il Signor le maritta a li 
schiaui di la porta zoe di la sua corte & in loco loro ne mete de le 
altre & le piu giouan e seruano a le altre. 

A vno seraglio appresso a perea de garzoni nu, 400. in circa che hano 
di soldo da 6 fin in 10 aspri il di p vno & li veste doi volte alanno 
di panno di seda si como fa a le done & vno Agha zoe capo del 
seraglio & 20 monuchi como nel altro seraglio & capigi & lanizeri 
& maestri che imparano voltegiare a cauallo & Iparano a sonare in 
tutto numero 100 homeni che hano aspri 600 al di di soldo tra tutti 
& laga a aspri 60 il di di soldo & 10 sacha con aspri 40 il di di soldo 
fra tutti li aquaroli. 

Vno Seraglio in Andranopoli nouo con vno bel giardino appresso a 
la mariza fiumera nel qual stano lanizerotti numero 300 & hano 
aspri 1 2 al di per vno Andranopoli e 5 zornate lotan da Constanti- 

Vno capo de detti zardineri a aspri 40 il di con vno protoiro & vno 
scriuano che tengono coto de ditto zardino con aspri 30 per vno al 

In diuersi lochi il Signor ha piu giardini in liquali son asai lanizerotti 
garzoni & soi capi hano di soldo aspri 6000 al di fra tutti questi 

Vno aga de agiamoglani Capitanio zoe gioueni greci in Costatinopoli 
a aspri 60 il di & a 4 in 5000 lantizerotto sotto lui & li da di soldo 
tra tutti alano ne a di spcsa aspri 100 millia & liveste due hate 
alanno & hano li loro capi como li altri & questi se metano sopra 
fabriche & condutte legne co nauigli in ConstantinopoU per il 


Signor & altre stente poi si fano coghi & famegli di lanizeri & in 
fino si fano lanizeri. 

Ogni 4 anni il Signor manda a tore di gretia & di Natolia piu figlioli 
de christiani per il paxe zoe p leville & doue vno padre ha 2 fioli 
li piglian vno fiol p forza & lo fano turco & cosi a ognuno christiani 
p il suo paese fano zoe soi subditi & ne piglia 10 i 12000 a la volta 
hquali puti li sano stare in la Natolia zoe in asia a zapare la terra 
acio imparano la lingua turcha & cosi stentano 3. o vero 4. anni & 
poi li manda a scriuere sotto laga di agiamoglani ditto vtsupra 
& di questi il Signor non ne a spesa alcuna per che sono vestiti & 
fatto le spese da quelli a che seruano per che li mete a stare co 
altri sino chano imparato la lingua & poi quando sono scritti li da 
soldo per la prima 2. in 3 aspri per vno & secodo li mete in altri 
ofl&cii li cresce il salario. 

Ha di spesa in li altri seragli di viuere aspri 5000 il di ditto di sopra. 

Veste due fiate alanno li Bassa zoe confieri defterderi zoe texoreri 
beglerbeii zoe Signor de Soignori nesangibei zoe quello che sopra 
di frutti dil Signor & presenti di spexa aspri 5000 per volte. 

Vna Arsenale doue ten le sue galere che a voiti 100 zoe 30 di galere 
grosse che si domandano maone p portare caualli & il resto sono 
galere futile. 

Tene continuamenti numero 200 patroni de galere pagati che hano 
soldo fra tutti aspri 200000 alanno di spexa. 

Tene continuo mille homeni axapi zoe marinero di galeri & ne a di 
spexa alano fra tutti aspri 400000. 

Maistri ouero proti numero 50 che sono sopra a far lauorare le galere 
zoe farle chi inocio hanno soldo aspri 6 il di & quando lauorano 
hano aspri 12 il di. 

Emino zoe capo de questi a aspri 40 il di vno scriuan che ten conto 
ha aspri 28 al di con 10 scriuani sotto lui con aspri 80 al di fra 

El Zustiniano zoe vno zentilomo Venetiano che serue il Turcho & e 
sopra a far fare galere ancora lui spexe straordinaria ha di soldo 
aspri 50 il di. 

Vno Beglerbei dil mar zoe Signor de Signori capo sopra le terre mari- 
time che a di entrata due, 14000 & traze piu dil duplo sopra rodi 
metelino negropote & il tribute di sio isole in mar. 

II Beglerbei di la gretia zoe capo di tutto il paese di la gretia magior 
de tutti li altri a di entrada ducati 260 millia a lanno & traze il 
duplo & a schiaui 1000. 


Vno protoiro zoe loco tenente di la gretia a ducati 4000 di entrada a 
lanno & a schiaui 300. 

Vno Deftero zoe texorero de le entrate di la gretia che loro domandano 
timari a ducati 3000 de entra da a lanno & ha 900 schiaui soi 

Cento scriuani che tengono li libri & coti dil Signor a di entrada fra 
tutti a lanno ducati loooo. 

Trentasette Sanzachibei zoe contadi Signori per il paese che han di 
entrada di 5 in 12 millia ducati a lanno secondo il grado loro chi 
piu chi meno & hano vno per laltro in tutto duca, 260 millia a 
lanno & 300 schiaui per vno. 

Quatrocento Subasi per il paxe dil Signor zoe Capitanio di lustitia 
che hano due. 100 alanno per vno di entrada & hano 50 schiaui 
per vno soi famigli. 

Trenta millia Spachi che hanno di entrada luno per laltro ducati 200 
per vno alanno & ciaschaduno de ditti per ogni ducati 100 che 
hano di entrada deue tener vno homo armato di lanza a cauallo 
& oltra le lanze hanno tre o 4 famigli per vno & altri tanti caualli 
zoe li Spachi. 

Vintimillia Trimarati zoe qlli che scodano le entrate per il paese hano 
due 40 de di entrata alanno p vno & per che non ariuano a li 100 
ducati dintrada no si chiamano spachi & sono homeni a cauallo & 
vano in campo. 

Li Spacoglani li sopradetti timari cioe entrade de le decime de tutte 
le entrade cosi de christiani como di turchi splenza aspri 25 per 
testa da li christiani & da langaria de li animali & altra quanto 
pagano dil Signor zoe piu o meno secondo diuersi paesi. 

Sesantamillia laching zoe ventureri scritti per il paese obligadi andare 
in campo quando place al Signor senza soldo & quando vano a la 
guerra le ville & cita li dano il modo dil viuere. 

Tutti li spachi sono schiaui & figli de schiaui del Sig. 

Sette Beglerbei zoe Signor de signori sopra bassavno che se chiama 
di la natolia ilquale era antichamete in assia minore il qual a di 
entrata ducati 24000 & ne traze assai piu & a sotto se il ponte 
labitinia azia ppia Lindia carian, licia prouincie & a schiaui 1000 
soi seruitori & a sanzachi 12 sotto lui zoe Signoroti co entrada da 
4 in 6000 ducati alanno per vno & schiaui 500 pervno & Spachi 
1000 sotto se CO soldo da 5 in 10 aspri al di pervno secodo la codi- 
tion loro & qste Beglerbei e di piu authorita de li altri & e forte 
nominato per il paese questi Spachi no hano tanta entrata como 
vtsupra per essere piu abondantia la. 


Beglerbei de caramania chera silicia & pamlilia prouincie ha di en- 
trata ducati lo millia & a 7 sanzachi sotto se con soldo ditte & 
spachi numero 500 sotto c6 soldo como laltro beglerbei & schiaui 
Beglerbei di auadoule che e tra la soria & Caramania & tocato era gia 
Pamphlagonia che e la mita di larmenia minore ha di entrada 
ducati 10 millia alanno & sette sanzachi che hano di entrada da 
4 in 5000 ducati alano & a schiaui 100 & Spachi 700 sotto lui quan do 
11 Signor hera fora si dice questo Beglerbei faceua persone da 
caualcare senza soldo numero 30 millia. 
Beglerbei di la mexopotania sotti ilqual e il resto di larmenia minor 
& parte di la magiore che laltra parte e dil Sophi & dacordo a di 
entrata ducati trenta miUia 8: schiaui due milUa & sanzachi 12 con 
entrada vt supra & spachi diece milHa co soldo vtsupra & confina 
con baldach zoe la babilonia vera. 
Baglerbei di Damascho & Soria & Giudea a di entrada ducati 24 
milha & schiaui due millia & sanzachi 12 con entrada vtsupra & 
a Spachi numero vintimillia sotto di lui. 
Beghlerbei di Alcario ha di entrada ducati trentamiUia & schiaui 
quarto millia Sazachi 16 con entrada vr supra per\Tio & Spachi 
sedeci miUia sotto lui & lanizeri tre millia & va fina alamecha cioe 
fina a la arabia liquali ello possede como si fa deli albanesi per 
forza benche la arabia felize stia in magior obedientia. 
Tra lamecha h Sophi sono alcuni Signori arabi poi il resto confina 
con il Sophi fina in la mexopotania in laqual e baldach zoe Babi- 
lonia poi passato la mexopotania cofina il Suphi ne la pianura di 
nassimo poi exdrun & extum che sono in la armenia mazore 
laqual cofina con Zorgiani & hiberi & ne larmenia mazor & 
minor sono assai cordi obedienti quelli de la mazor parte al Signor 
Turcho & parte al Sophi Re di persia & trabixonda lucho de Im- 
perio in mar magior cofina con mengreli zoe mengrelia doue non 
si spende danari & ancora confina co giorgiani che antichamente 
si dimandauano colchi azamia chera asiria e dil Sophi. 
Armenia magior e minor sono christiani assai di quelH di san Thomaso 
trabixonda sono greci & mengreli sono christiani & giorgiani sono 
Ottoma hebe in sua copagnia ad acqstare il dominio vno michaU greco 
fatto turco dal qual son dissexi li mazalogh zoe mamaluchi de 
laqual stirpe ne vno hora sanzaco in bosina zoe Conte devna pro- 


Malco greco renegato alqual sono nasiuti li malcozogli, & di quella 
stirpe ne vno & e Sanzaco in gretia. Aurami che si chiamano 
Eurcassi de laqual stirpe non si sa che ne sia alcun hora. 

Tutti questi generatione promisse ottoman di no mettere mai mane 
nel sangue loro ne mancharli mai di magistrato & ancora si con- 
serua la promessa fatali & questi furono quelli che aiutomo la 
caxa ottomana. 

Intrada dil gran Turcho de caragi zoe tributatii caua ducati 1300000 
da la Natolia & grecia caua ducati 1600000 di Egipto caua due. 
700000 de Soria caua ducati 150000 de mexopotania ducati 
250000 questi danari caua si non di terra ferma senza le Isole che 
sotto lui & li douane di Constantinopli e pera. 

Le entrate che se dice disse il Signer Aluise Gritti che sono piu presto 
piu che mcno & la spexa di la porta zoe di la corte dil Signor penso 
che cosuma tutta la entrada o poco mono. 

Li Beglerbei di egitto stano sotto il beglerbei di Alcairo per la magior 
parte & li sono Sanzachi sino in lamecha doue sta larcha de macomet 
Zingil Ghebur lurcan & Tibris fiumi dil Paradiso Terestro. 

Li Beglerbei & li Sanzachi a chi piu chi meno secodo la autorita sua 
& son pagati de li territori doue st no escetto quelli che pigliano 
soldo dil gran Turcho la entrada de li ditti non si po sapere a ponto 
bisogna per arbitrio pensarla zoe de quelli di egitto. 


zoe contadi che sono sotto li Beglerbei & si nomina li paexi doue sono & 
Prouincie doue stano e prima. 

Li Sanzachi zoe Contadi che sono 14 Carlali. 

sotto il Beglerbei di la Gretia 15 Negroponte. 

prima. 16 Lepanto. 

1 Gretia. 17 Morea. 

2 Cafa. 18 Trighala. 

3 Silistria. 19 Galipoli. 

4 NicopoH. 20 Quaranta Giexie. 

5 \'idin. 21 Vissa. 

6 Suornich. 22 Crimen: 

7 Bossina. 23 Ochria. 

8 Ersech del Ducato. 24 Giostaudil. 

9 Samandria bclgrado. 25 Mzitrin. 

10 Seruia. 26 Pisdren. 

11 Belgrade. 27 .\lzasar. 

12 Schutari. 28 .\lbasan. 

13 Valona. 29 V'oinuch. 



30 Ciuchene. 


31 Zaiza. 





Li Sanzachi che sono sotto il Beg- 

6 Caugri. 

lerbei di la Natolia zoe Asia 

7 Tescheli. 


8 Metesseli. 

I Giotachie. 

9 Haeid neli. 

2 Cogia oUi. 

10 Allaye. 

3 Bolli. 

II Buga. 

4 Castamoni. 

1 2 Manguixa il statto. 

5 Anghori. 

Li Sanzachi che sono sotto il Beg- 

3 Giauich. 

lerbei di Cappadocia. 

4 Caraister. 

I Amassia. 

5 Sauisum. 

2 Cioriun. 

6 Trapixonda. 

Li Sanzachi che sono sotto il Beg- 

2 Naranda. 

lerbei di Caramania. 

3 Assar. 

I Siogna. 

4 Eschi assar. 

Li Sanzachi che sono sotto il Beg- 

3 Albistanouasi, 

lerbei di Auandoule. 

4 Adaria. 

I Maras. 

5 Tersis. 

2 Sarmus Sachi. 

Li Sazachi che sono sotto 

6 Meridim. 

il beglerbei di mesopotaia. 

7 Carput. 

I Dierbech. 

8 Mussul. 

2 Carachmit. 

9 Exrun. 

3 Argni. 

10 Haiburth. 

4 Solgich. 

Dittilis. Nassim nouasi 

5 Casangieph. 

Li Sanzachi che sono sotto il Beg- 


lerbei di Soria. 



Cama ama. 









Questi sono i lochi che ha sotto il Turco. 

Questo sie la ordenanza dil Capo dil Signore zoe dil gran Turcho quado 
va a la guerra primamente vna quatita di spacoglani getilomini con 
lanza & spada. 

Inanze al primo bassa li va numero 15 caualli ornati p la sua persona con 
vno lanizero per banda. 


E poi tre garzoni vcstiti doro con schufie doro rosse vno H porta larcho 

vno li porta le vcste & vno li porta il ramin da laqua. 
E poi vno Aga con schufia doro zoc Capitanio. 
E poi doi garzoni senza milza arente al bassa. 
E poi mille lanizeri schopeteri a piedi. 
E poi da 60 Sanzachi zoe stcndardi a cauallo. 
E poi trombetti e tamburin insiema a cauallo. 
E poi il campo a refuso de diuersi generationi e de diuersi lanze tutti a 

E poi gambelli muli bagaie del campo. 

E poi Gentilomeni Spachi a cauallo con spada & archo e frize solle. 
E poi li cari de lartelaria. 

E poi caualli numero 30 con briglie doro per la persona dil Signor. 
E poi tutti li capi de li lanizari zoe Boluchbassi Odabassi a cauallo con 

barete doro aguze con vno penagio di garzette bianche in zima con 

lanze & con le banderolle zalle. 
E poi 12 milia lanizeri con schiopetti alabarde apedi. 
E poi li solachi apedi staferi dil Signor cd archi e frize 
E poi il gran Turcho sollo in mezo di Solachi. 
E poi 3 garzoni con schufie doro vestiti di pano doro che li portano archo 

e frize e laqua & veste. 
E poi 2 monuchi seza coioni a cauallo dreto al signor 
E poi Imralemaga ch' porta il stedardo dil Signor tutto verde sollo. 
E poi 6 Sanzachi zoe bandere vna rossa vna biacha vna verde due diuixa 

vna rossa e bianca & vna verde e rosso a cauallo. 
E poi trombeteri & tamburi a cauallo. 
E poi il campo arefuxo con li dulipante a cauallo co lanze e spada con le 

banderole rosse. 
A la banda destra dil Signor Spacoglani a cauallo co lanze con banderole 

A la banda sinistra dil Signor Selictari a cauallo con lanze con banderolle 

rosse e bianche. 
E poi gambelli & mulli e bagaie dil campo e pagi. 
E poi Spachi con lanze a cauallo con dulipati biachi. 
E poi vno bassa solo con soi Stafeti. 
E poi 22 Sanzachi zoe stendardi a cauallo. 
E poi trombeteri tamburi a cauallo. 
E poi il campo a refuso de diuerse sorte con dulipant & barette rosse de piu 

sorte generatione. 
E poi gambelli e muli e bagaie dil campo insema. 
E poi tutti li lachingi zoe ventureri. 

Questo libro e stato cauato da lonus bei il qual era greco & hora e 
turcho & e interpetro grande dil Signor & dal Signor Aluise grit- 
ti fiol dil Duxo di V'enctia & tutto e vero. 



Translated from the Turkish 

[From folios 6Q-70 of the Turkish MS. Fluegel No. 1816, Imperial Library, Vienna: "Funda- 
mental Laws of Sultan Suleiman, according to the arrangement of the Mufti Ebu-Su'ud." The 
table does not begin till folio 27 of the manuscript. The page references are to Hammer's Slaats- 
ver/assung, where a translation of the paragraphs may be found.) 


27. Law concerning mortgage and loan contracts. p. 396 

28. Law concerning fallow fields. p. 397 

29. Law concerning uncultivated lands. p. 398 

29. Law concerning absent and missing [tenants]. p. 398 

30. Law concerning the hereditary tenancy of land (tapu), and 

regulations determining what sort of lands are given in 
hereditary tenancy. p. 399 

31. Regulations for the case when a SpaJii of either a large or a 

small fief possesses his fief in common ownership. p. 401 

32. Regulations for the case when a Spahi dies or is dispossessed 

before the delivery of the hereditary lease. (In Hammer 

the heading is different and is not logically placed.) p. 403 

2,:^. Regulations for the case when the tenant dies before the 

expiration of the hereditary lease. p. 404 

^2,- Law concerning the giving out of the winter and summer 
pastures and concerning the legal relationships of meadow 
lands. p. 199 

34. Law concerning the ground tax, concerning the taxes upon 

state-lands, sandy fields, peasants' houses, etc. p. 406 

35. Law concerning the tenth, the tax upon vineyards, leased 

vineyards, the bushel, and the bushel-tax. p. 407 

36. Law concerning the tenth, the fifth, and the fodder tenth 

{salariyeh). p. 407 

37. Regulations for the case of joint ownership when more than 

the tenth of the crop, namely, the half or the fifth, is 
demanded from the Spahi. (Not found in Hammer.) 

38. Special regulations regarding the tenths of the Spahis. (Not 

found in Hammer.) 

39. Law concerning the taxes on mills and green produce. p. 408 

39. Law concerning the landlord's share, the tenths and the 

fruits. p. 408 

40. Law concerning the tenths [of honey, the tax on] bees, 

other taxes, etc. p. 409 




41. Law concerning the sheep-tax and the fold-tax. p. 410 

42. Law concerning the obligations of subjects and the tax on 

prisoners. (Hammer, the slave-tax.) p. 410 

42. Law concerning the half-hide-tax. (Hammer, the bride-tax.) p. 411 

43. Law concerning the hide-tax and the ta.xes on abandoned 

lands. p. 411 

44. Law concerning fleeing the country. P- 412 

45. Law concerning the wandering hordes. p. 413 

46. Law concerning the wagoners. p. 413 

47. Law concerning the irregular cavalry. (Hammer, fiefs for 

public service.) p. 414 

48. Law concerning the Yayas and Moscllcms (free foot-soldiers) . p. 4 1 5 

49. Law concerning the imperial foundations and the vakjs. p. 416 
49. Regulations concerning lawsuits over land. p. 417 

51. Law concerning the time of the harvest. p. 418 

52. Law concerning the harvest and the designation of those 

persons who receive their income out of landed property 
but not at the time of harvest. (Not a separate heading 
in Hammer.) p. 419 

53. Special regulations concerning fiefs in regard to dating, 

registering, etc. (Not found in Hammer.) 

54. Law concerning the intendants of the fiscus, the receivers of 

taxes, and regulations concerning the revenues of the 

court. p. 419 

55. Law concerning the holders of great and small fiefs, and 

concerning the freedom of some military persons from 
certain occasional taxes. p. 421 

56. Law concerning the Beylerbeys, the Sanjak Beys, and the 

Kapuji-basliis. p. 422 

57. Law concerning the fees of judges, p. 423 

57. Law concerning the contents of the berats of the judges 

(their diplomas of appointment). (Omitted in Hammer.) 

58. Regulations concerning lawsuits between Spahis and non- 

Mohammedans or between two Spahis. p. 424 

60. Law concerning taxes which are demanded from leased land 
when the tenth alone is insufficient. (Not found in Ham- 



" The uncommon abilities of most of the princes, with the mild and humane character of all, 
rendered Hindostan the most flourishing empire in the world during two complete centuries." — Dow. 

General Comparison of Ottoman and Indian Conditions 

When Baber first rode do\vTi through the grim gates of India's 
northwest mountain-wall, the accession of Suleiman lay but a year in 
the future; the Mogul won the battle of Panipat but four months 
before the Turk was victorious at Mohacs, Thus the founding of the 
Mogul Empire nearly coincided with the meridian splendor of the 
Ottoman power, and its decisive battle of establishment W'ith the 
victory which led to the last great extension of Ottoman authority 
into Europe. Not Baber or even Akbar, Suleiman's contempo- 
raries, but Aurangzeb, whose reign began a century after Suleiman's 
death, affords the closest comparison with the Turkish monarch; 
yet the third battle of Panipat in 1761 marked the \drtual destruction 
of the Mogul Empire, whereas the second battle of Mohacs in 1687 
meant but the first noteworthy step of the Ottoman retreat. The 
house of Timur has disappeared from history, while the house of 
Osman still reigns over wide territories; less than two and a half 
centuries of genuine sovereign rule were enjoyed by the Moguls, 
while six centuries have not sufficed to measure the independent 
existence of the Ottomans. 

The Mogul emperors perhaps never ruled so large a territory as the 
Ottoman sultans, but their lands were far more productive ; moreover, 
having from five to ten times as many subjects as their Western 
cousins and an income in proportion, they could surpass even the 
Magnificent Suleiman in display and largesse. The inferior persistence 
of their dominion, therefore, suggests inferior strength and stability in 
their institutions, a suggestion to which even a limited investigation 
lends much support. 

' The object of this appendix is to set forth in outline the features of the Mogul 
government, in order to suggest comparison with that of the Ottoman Empire. 
Completeness neither of research nor of exposition has been attempted. A list 
of the authorities consulted, most of which are secondary, will be found at the end 
of the appendix. 



The Moguls shared with the Ottomans their relation to the ideas 
of the Mongol and Turkish Tatars of the steppe lands, and to those of 
the Persians and the Arabs. They were more directly and vitally 
influenced by the Tatars and Persians, and less directly by the Arabs. 
Farther than this their relations were not to the comparatively 
organized and energetic civilization of the Mediterranean but to the 
more speculative and passive culture of India. Over the lands into 
which they entered as conquerors lay the shadow not of sternly practi- 
cal Roman legalism, but of Hindu and Buddhist contempt for things 

They founded a despotism, but one that was never, even under 
Aurangzeb, so closely related to the Sacred Law of Mohammed as was 
the government of Suleiman. They ruled a variety of lands in a 
variety of relationships, but never with the stern control exercised by 
the Kaisar-i-Riim (Roman emperor), the name which they ga\e to 
the Turkish ruler at Constantinople. They enforced the obedience of 
many peoples, who spoke many languages and practised many forms 
of religion; yet they never held these peoples under any such iron 
system of subjection as that which dominated the Christian subjects 
of the sultan, even to the seizure of their children for tribute. 

Since the passing of those prehistoric times when all human ideas 
were solidified together into a single " crust of custom," every nation 
has probably had two leading institutions, more or less closely con- 
nected, — the one of religion and the other of government. The 
foregoing pages have shown how powerful and pervasive were the 
Ottoman Ruling Institution and the Moslem Institution in the Otto- 
man Empire. In the parallel organizations of the empire of the 
Moguls, however, it is not possible to discern comparable unique 
individuality, systematic structure, and ordered efhciency. Some 
allowance must be made for a comparative lack of information, since 
not many Western observers have described the more distant empire; 
but this fact can hardly alter the conclusion materially. The institu- 
tional structure of the Mogul Empire was decidedly inferior to that of 
the Ottoman Empire in solidity, system, and persistent energy. 

The Personnel of the Mogul Government 

Baber's following consisted of the comrades of his many years of 
fighting, an army of cavalry, artillery, and musketry composed in 
ancient Turkish fashion of high-spirited men attached to their chief 
by impressive leadership and open-handed generosity. Courage, 


military prowess, and the nominal profession of Islam were the 
necessary qualifications; differences of race, education, and Moslem 
doctrine were disregarded. Warriors of Turki stock, Persians of 
Shiite leanings, hardy Afghans, " Roman " artillery engineers from 
Stambul, were equals in the rough brotherhood of Baber's camp. 
The principle of subordination, at least among persons of consequence, 
was not that of slaves to their master, but of tribesmen to their chief, 
of vassals to their honored suzerain. 

When Turks had first invaded India, five centuries before, slavery 
as a means of recruiting and training soldiers and governors was in full 
swing. Mahmud of Ghazni was the son of a father who had risen 
through slavery. The thirteenth century saw enthroned at Delhi a 
dynasty of slave kings which antedated by several decades the Mame- 
lukes of Egypt. Late in the fourteenth century Firoz III owned 
180,000 slaves, of whom 40,000 constituted his household. The 
Mameluke government endured for more than two and a half cen- 
turies, until overthrown by the more centralized and efl&cient slave 
system of the Ottomans; but in Central Asia and ultimately in India 
a new force speedily rendered the slave method, save for some 
survivals, antiquated and impossible. 

The dominance of the Mongols was based on the discipline of an 
army of freemen who were intelligent enough willingly to render 
absolute obedience to their officers as the well-tested condition of 
certain success. With the break-up of the vast Mongol Empire, the 
lands now in Russian Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Persia lapsed 
toward the horde organization of nomad Tatars, but became more and 
more modified by Moslem feudalism. Under such conditions, Timur, 
high-born and adventurous, chivalrous and literary, fanatical and 
cruel, achieved an empire that was large and splendid, but personal 
to himself, and destined to vanish almost with its founder. Yet he 
presaged a time when in Asia and Europe alike there should come, 
after the disintegrating individualism of the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries, a period of the gathering together of lands and peoples 
into large units under strong personal governments. 

Baber, descendent of Timur in the sixth generation, descendant also 
of Genghis Khan, came at the beginning of the new era. Less ruthless 
than either of his great ancestors, less legal than the " Inflexible One," 
less Moslem than the " Scourge of Asia," but possessed of much of 
the leadership and military genius of both, he stands forth, by reason 
of his memoirs, as one of the best known conquerors of history. His 


love of carousing, his family afTcction, his literary bent, his toleration 
of heretics and infidels, his bold leadership, his liberality in dividing 
spoil, presented qualities and suggested modes of activity which were 
to characterize all his descendants down to the puritanical Aurangzeb. 

Thus the family life of the house of Baber was far more normal than 
that of the house of Osman. In contrast with an almost unbroken 
line of Ottoman slave mothers and wives, whose names with those of 
their daughters have hardly survived, many of the Mogul imperial 
ladies are well known. Witness the princess Gul-Badan, daughter 
of Baber, who like her father wrote memoirs; the empress Nur-Jehan, 
who ruled India for a time; and the empress Mumtaz-Mahal, for whom 
her devoted husband built the fairest of all mausoleums. Turki 
princesses, ladies of high Persian descent, and daughters of Hindu 
Rajahs, were taken into the imperial harem, where, though women 
and eunuchs were present " from Russia, Circassia, Mingrelia, Georgia, 
and Ethiopia," no emperors sprang from slave mothers during the 
period of greatness. With such a policy in the family which con- 
stituted a chief element in the unity of the Mogul Empire, it was but 
natural that officers and soldiers, statesmen and public servants, 
should be accepted with a like catholicity. The best fighters, of 
course, continued to be those who came down newly from the high 
country beyond the northwest passes; and since such of these as met 
success were apt to send for relatives and friends, there was continual 
recruiting from among Tatars, Persians, Afghans, and Arabs, — all 
Moslems, but of various sects. " Rumis " from the Ottoman Empire 
were especially useful in the artillery service. Some of them were 
doubtless European renegades, but " Firinjis " or Franks were likely 
to come more directly from Portugal and other European countries. 
Yet by no means all the brave were from foreign lands. Many 
Rajputs under their own Rajahs served the Mogul emperors most 
acceptably, and when treated without prejudice they were faithful. 
The high officers of government were usually Persians; but Akbar 
was nobly served by the great Todar Mai, and appointed Rajahs to 
govern the Punjab and Bengal. About one in eight of his paid 
cavalry chiefs was a Hindu; and of the lesser civil-service positions 
the mere necessity for numbers, aj')art from superior skill and training, 
required that many should be held by Hindus. 

It is not that slavery had disappeared from the INIogul system. 
Traces of the old method can be discerned as late as the eighteenth 
century. In fact, Muhammad Khan, a Bangash Xawab of Far- 


rukhabad, maintained what was practically a replica in miniature of 
the Ottoman system. Hindu boys between the ages of seven and 
thirteen, some of them sons of Rajputs and Brahmins, were seized, 
bought, or accepted as chelas or slaves to the number of one or two 
hundred a year. They were taught to read and write, and were 
specially rewarded when the task was completed. Five hundred 
chelas from eighteen to twenty years of age were trained as a regiment 
of musketeers. From among the older chelas were chosen the officers 
of the household, generals of the army, and deputy governors of 
provinces. The Nawab arranged marriages between chelas and the 
daughters of chelas. He encouraged them to acquire personal prop- 
erty, which he could claim in time of need; but he forbade them to 
found towns or build masonry structures, lest occupying these they 
might tend toward independence. IVIuhammad Khan did not, how- 
ever, depend exclusively on his Hindu slaves; he sent money to his 
own Bangash tribe, and thus obtained a colony of Afghans to whom he 
gave high military positions and upon some of whom he bestowed his 
daughters in marriage. Other vassals of the emperor made use of a 
similar slave system; and it is not unUkely that the emperor himself 
recruited his permanent infantry with the help of slavery, and that he 
promoted some slaves to high positions. But the absence of definite 
information in this direction is in most striking contrast to its abundant 
presence in the records which deal with the Ottoman Empire in the 
sixteenth century. 

In theory the officers of government were so far the ser\'ants of the 
emperor that their accumulated personal property belonged to him 
at their death ; but in practice the opulence and the generosity of the 
sovereign led him often to leave such wealth in the hands of the 
officers' children. When this was not done, employment in the 
public service was assigned to sons and pensions were granted to 

Titles of nobihty were awarded for life to distinguished officials; 
the chief officers of the central government and governors of great 
provinces were called Emirs {Omrahs in many Western writings, 
probably a plural of majesty), generals of the army were Khans, 
and distinguished soldiers of lesser rank were Bahadurs or knights, 
Khondamir says that Humayun organized a system of twelve 
orders or arrows, according to which the entire imperial house- 
hold was graded. " The twelfth arrow, which was made of the 
purest gold, was put in the auspicious quiver of this powerful king, 


and nobody could dare to touch it. The eleventh arrow belonged 
to His Majesty's relations and brethren, and all the sultans who were 
in the government employ. Tenth, to the great miishaikhs, saiyids, 
and the learned and religious men. Ninth, to the great nobles. 
Eighth, to the courtiers and some of the king's personal attendants. 
Seventh, to the attendants in general. Sixth, to the harems and to the 
well-behaved female attendants. Fifth, to young maid-servants. 
Fourth, to the treasurers and stewards. Third, to the soldiers. 
Second, to the menial servants. First, to the palace guards, camel- 
drivers, and the like. Each of these arrows or orders had three grades; 
the highest, the middle, and the lowest." Appointments and pro- 
motions were, as at Constantinople, based upon valor and manifest 
ability. Through all the period of greatness the ladder of advance- 
ment was kept so clear that vigor, courage, and prowess could mount 
from the lowest ranks to the steps of the throne. 

Relation of Government to Religious Propagation 

When the Ottoman Turks conquered their European territories, 
as well as parts of their Asiatic dominions, they for the first time 
introduced the Moslem religion. This was not the case with the 
Mogul advance into India. Beginning with Mohammed ben Kasim's 
invasion of Sind in 712 A.D., and starting afresh with Mahmud of 
Ghazni in 1000 a.d., the Moslem political control, accompanied by the 
conversion of a portion of the native population, had spread step by 
step until, when Baber came after eight centuries, there remained 
little of India that was not actually or had not at some time been under 
Moslem rule. No data appear to exist for determining the actual 
proportion of the total population that was Moslem during the Mogul 
period. Guesses have been made ranging from a possible one in 
four to Bernier's estimate of one in hundreds. The only basis of 
any value would perhaps be that obtained by working backward 
from the British censuses. In 191 1 the Mohammedans constituted 
about twenty-one per cent of the population of India, and their number 
was increasing at a slightly more rapid rate than the average. It 
maybe supposed that the increase of the Moslem proportion was greater 
during the days of the Mogul Empire, when it was especially profit- 
able to change, and when there was a strong inward flow at the 
northwest; but since the Mogul decline the rate of relative progress 
has probably always been slow. Perhaps the proportion about 1761 
was somewhat less than one in five, and in 1526 it may have been not 


more than one in from ten to twenty. Bemier's guess would certainly 
seem to have been wild, for it is inconceivable that so small progress 
would have been made in a thousand years and so great in the next 
two hundred. No doubt the Moslem contingent was then, as it is 
now, unevenly distributed, being in high proportion in the northwest 
and diminishing gradually with the distance from the mountain passes. 
At points on the seacoast where trade had been active, the Moslem 
influence had come early by way of the sea; hence there also the 
percentage was greater. In Suleiman's empire, comprising as it did a 
large amount of old Moslem territory and including even the Holy 
Cities, the proportion of Moslems was, of course, much higher; but 
it diminished rapidly from south to north, until in Hungary it must 
have been extremely attenuated. 

In the absence of an elaborate slave system in India, there was 
not the steady public machinery of conversion which operated power- 
fully in the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, it would seem that before 
the reign of Aurangzeb no emperor cared to promote conversion to 
Islam by financial or political rewards. Akbar, in fact, removed the 
jizyeh, or poll-tax, which had previously, as in all other truly Moslem 
lands until recent times, laid special burdens upon unbelievers, and 
the tax was not reimposed until the time of Aurangzeb. Akbar also 
forbade the enslavement of captives and of their wives and children. 
For a century, therefore, the government lent little encouragement to 
change of faith. Down to the accession of Aurangzeb there was a 
clear contrast between Ottoman and Mogul policy in the attitude 
toward the Moslem religion: the Moguls held far less than the 
Ottomans to the idea of the conquest of the world for Islam, or to 
the conversion of unbelievers, as an object of governmental endeavor. 
Aurangzeb alone had such zeal as characterizes the average descendant 
of Osman; he desired no infidels in his service, and regarded the 
Deccan as the Dar-ul-harb which he wished to make part of 
the Dar-ul-Islam. There can be no doubt, however, that under all the 
Mogul emperors the social pressure usual in Moslem lands continued 
to encourage conversion privately, while the slavery which Islam 
normally sanctions was also contributing to the increase of the faithful. 
Moreover, it is not likely that all the officers of the liberal emperors 
were as tolerant and as indifferent to Moslem progress as were their 


The Army 

At Delhi, as at Constantinople, no sharp line could be drawn 
separating government and army. The Mogul conquest was achieved 
by an army, and the army became a government. Amalgamation 
with older systems of course introduced groups of under-officials 
who had no military duties; but those who would be great had to be 
capable of military command, men who might be familiar with the 
pen but who must know how to wield the sword. 

The Mogul army organization seems, in the midst of confused 
testimonies, to have borne a considerable resemblance to that of the 
Ottomans. The emperor was commander-in-chief, and as late as 
Aurangzeb regularly commanded in person in great campaigns. He 
had a personal army of 12,000 to 15,000 paid infantry and 12,000 to 
40,000 paid cavalry. These corresponded in number and function, 
but not at all in political importance, to the Janissaries and Spahis 
of the Porte among the Ottomans. In great campaigns the standing 
army was supported by the feudal cavalry, estimated at from 200,000 
to 400,000, and by indelinite numbers of irregular infantry, drawn 
from a mass estimated at four millions. The army was strong in 
artillery, and possessed in trained elephants a force of which the Otto- 
mans could not make use. 

The emperor's infantry were, at least from Akbar's time, match- 
lockmen; they seem to have been the only trustworthy and efficient 
foot-soldiers. It would appear that their clumsy weapons, improved 
by Akbar himself, were not changed up to the time of Aurangzeb; 
for Bernier reports that in his day the muskets were rested on forks 
and fired by men who squatted on the ground, and who feared that 
the flash might damage their eyebrows and beards. On account of 
the method of payment it is not possible to estimate closely the number 
of the emperor's cavalry, or Mansabdars. Men who agreed to furnish 
from five to five thousand troopers were taken into his service, and 
pay {mansab) was assigned for the stipulated number; but even in 
Akbar's time, according to Badauni, it was possible to present fol- 
lowers hired only for the occasion, and yet to draw lifelong pay for 
their services. In later years there ceased to be even approximate 
correspondence between the amount of pay and the number of troops 
furnished. The mansab was then regarded as a salary, or even as a 

The more numerous feudal cavalry consisted of the holders (with 
their followers) oijagirs, or grants, of the revenue of districts of larger 


or smaller size, in return for which they served without other pay, 
except in case of unduly prolonged campaigns. Holders of large 
areas were accustomed to administer them in person, whereas those 
who held smaller sections would often leave the administration to the 
governors of provinces, who in time tended to appropriate the revenues. 
Aurangzeb, however, pursued the policy of assigning service in 
regions remote from the appointee's jc^zr, and of retaining wives and 
children at the court as pledges of fidelity. Hindu Rajahs were 
easily brought into the system by being invested with analogous 
rights in their hereditary territories. Apart from these cases, the 
appointments, as in Turkey, were not regarded as hereditar\% but 
were apt to be given to fresh recruits of ability from beyond the 
mountains. It was customary to make small assignments to sons of 
dead Jagirdars, and to increase their allowances upon proof of merit. 
Jagirdars and Rajahs, like Timariotes and Zaims, had jurisdiction 
and other governmental duties in the areas assigned to them, and thus 
carried a large part of the task of local government. Ultimately 
many of the higher positions became hereditary in families which 
worked toward independence in the days of decline. 

The artillery seems to have been surprisingly strong under Baber 
and Humayun, and to have declined later. Baber is said to have 
had seven hundred guns at Panipat, which he chained together after 
the method employed by Selim I at Kaldiran. Humayun is reported 
to have had at Kanauj seven hundred guns discharging stone balls 
of five pounds weight, and twenty-one guns discharging brass balls 
ten times as heavy. Aurangzeb, it is said, transported seventy pieces 
of heavy artillery and two or three hundred swivel guns, mounted on 
the backs of camels. For fortress defence and siege operations the 
Moguls had a few enormous guns, some of which are said to have 
required for transport two hundred and fifty and even five hundred 
oxen! In addition to these resources, it appears, if testimonies can 
be trusted, that Akbar kept five thousand war elephants, each of 
which was accounted equal in time of battle to five hundred horsemen ; 
and Hawkins says that Jehangir had twelve thousand elephants of 
all descriptions. Aurangzeb is reported to have maintained in the 
palace stables the more modest number of eight hundred elephants. 

The early Mogul armies were efficient and successful. Aurangzeb, 
however, conducted about the Deccan in his twenty-four years' war 
of conquest a horde that resembled a migration rather than an army. 
For each fighting man there were at least two camp-followers; the 


march was without discipline and order, like the movement of a herd 
of animals; and the camp was a city five miles long, or, as others say, 
seven and a half miles, or twenty miles in circumference. One Euro- 
pean observer even reported that the encampment was thirty miles 
about, and contained five million souls! Among these he counted 
seven hundred thousand soldiers, of whom three hundred thousand 
were cavalry. With all due allowance for exaggeration, the Mogul 
army clearly tended to become exceedingly numerous, but of in- 
creasing weakness and inefficiency. A battle in 1526 between Baber 
and Suleiman would have been a worthy contest, but the army of 
Aurangzeb would probably have been defeated easily by the Ottoman 
troops which bit the dust before Prince Eugene. 

The Court 

Splendid as was the display of Suleiman's entourage, it lacked the 
financial basis which the Moguls possessed from Akbar to Aurangzeb. 
Gold and silver, gems, silks and muslins, were far more abundant in 
the eastern land. A more highly developed architecture, showing 
far greater richness of detailed ornamentation, served in India to 
construct not only temples of religion and tombs of great personages, 
but also marvellous palaces and pleasure-houses for the emperors. 
Many thousands of attendants suppHed every possible luxury and 
rendered every conceivable service. 

No systematic description of the organization of the imperial house- 
hold has come to hand. Scattered allusions reveal the presence of 
very numerous groups of officials, agents, and servants of all grades. 
Teachers, physicians, scholars, valets, chamberlains, butlers, cooks, 
kitchen servants, musicians, poets, generals, captains, guards, 
equerries, hostlers, herdsmen, elephant-drivers, and stablemen, 
ministers of state, judges, treasurers, secretaries, swarmed about the 
great halls and myriad chambers of the palaces at Agra, Delhi, and 
Fatehpur-Sikri. These, with the tradespeople who made their living 
by supplying the household but who were less directly attached to 
the emperor, constituted a migratory city of large size, which followed 
the emperor from residence to residence and in time of campaign 
swelled almost unbelievably the following of his enormous army. 

As for the court life which went on at the center of this vast and 
multi-colored setting, this was necessarily twofold, by that custom 
of all Moslem lands according to which the sexes must be segregated. 
Daily assemblages, gatherings at the mosques on Fridays, great 


ceremonies for special occasions, and the imperial hunts contained 
none but men as participants. If women saw any part of such festiv- 
ities, it was from a distance and through thick veils or close-wrought 
lattices. Khondamir says that Humayun divided his attendants into 
three great classes, concerned respectively with government and war, 
with learning and literature, and with music and personal grace and 
beauty. The latter were called " people of pleasure . . . because 
most people take great delight in the company of such young-looking 
men, of rosy cheeks and sweet voices, and are pleased by hearing their 
songs, and the pleasing sound of the musical instruments, such as the 
harp, the sackbut, and the lute." Humayun devoted Sundays and 
Tuesdays to dealings with the first class, holding audience and attend- 
ing to government duties on those days. Saturdays and Thursdays 
were days when " the tree of the hope " of literary and religious 
persons " produced the fruit of prosperity by their obtaining audience 
in the paradise-resembling court." Mondays and Wednesdays were 
devoted to pleasure parties, when old companions and chosen friends 
were entertained by musicians and singers. On Fridays w^ere con- 
vened " all the assemblies," whatever this may mean; and the em- 
peror sat with them as long as he could. 

The splendor of the court may be illustrated by two or three 
extracts. Nizam-uddin Ahmad relates that Akbar, journeying in 
the fifteenth year of his reign, accepted an invitation to rest at Dipal- 
pur, " For some days feasting went on, and upon the last day splendid 
offerings were presented to him. Arab and Persian horses, w^ith 
saddles of silver; huge elephants, with chains of gold and silver, and 
housings of velvet and brocade; and gold and silver, and pearls 
and jewels, and rubies and garnets of great price; chairs of gold, and 
silver vases, and vessels of gold and silver; stuffs of Europe, Turkey, 
and China, and other precious things beyond all conception. Presents 
of similar kind also were presented for the young princes and the 
emperor's wives. All the ministers and attendants and dignitaries 
received presents, and every soldier of the army also participated in 
the bounty." 

Sir Thomas Roe describes a curious annual ceremony of the Mogul 
emperors as carried through by Jehangir. " The first of September 
was the King's Birth-day, and the solemnitie of his weighing, to which 
I went, and was carryed into a very large and beautiful Garden, the 
square within all water, on the sides flowers and trees, in the midst a 
Pinacle, where was prepared the scales, being hung in large tressels, 


and a crosse beame plated on with Gold thinne: the scales of massie 
Gold, the borders set with small stones, Rubies and Turkeys, the 
Chaines of Gold large and massie, but strengthened with silke Cords. 
Here attended the Nobilitie, all sitting about it on Carpets until the 
King came; who at last appeared clothed or rather loden with Dia- 
monds, Rubies, Pearles, and other precious vanities, so great, so 
glorious; his Sword, Target, Throne to rest on, correspondent; his 
head, nccke, breast, armes, above the elbows, at the wrists, his fingers 
every one, with at least two or three Rings; fettered with chaines, 
or dyalled Diamonds; Rubies as great as Wal-nuts, some greater; 
and Pearles such as mine eyes were amazed at. Suddenly he entered 
into the scales, sate like a woman on his legges, and there was put in 
against him many bagges to fit his weight, which were changed six 
times, and they say was silver, and that I understood his weight to 
be nine thousand rupias, which are almost one thousand pounds 
sterling: after with Gold and Jewels, and precious stones, but I saw 
none, it being in bagges might be Pibles; then against Cloth of Gold, 
Silk, Stuffes, Linen, Spices, and all sorts of goods, but I must believe 
for they were in sardles. Lastly against Meale, Butter, Come, which 
is said to be given to the Banian." The extract neglects to state 
that the ceremony was followed by the distribution as largesse of all 
the valuables weighed against the royal person with its heavy adorn- 

Bernier describes an audience of Aurangzeb. *' The king appeared 
seated upon his throne at the end of the great hall in the most magnif- 
icent attire. His vest was of white and delicately flowered satin, 
with a silk and gold embroidery of the finest texture. The turban 
of gold cloth had an aigrette whose base was composed of diamonds 
of an extraordinary size and value, besides an oriental topaz which 
may be pronounced unparalleled, exhibiting a lustre like the sun. A 
necklace of immense pearls suspended from his neck reached to the 
stomach. The throne was supported by six massy feet, said to be of 
solid gold, sprinkled over with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. It 
was constructed by Shah-Jehan for the purjiose of displaying the 
immense quantity of precious stones accumulated successively in the 
Treasury from the spoils of ancient Rajahs and Pathans, and the annual 
presents to the monarch which every Omrah is bound to make on 
certain festivals. At the foot of the throne were assembled all the 
Omrahs, in splendid apparel, upon a platform surrounded by a silver 
railing and covered by a spacious canopy of brocade with deep fringes 


of gold. The pillars of the hall were hung with brocades of a gold 
ground, and flowered satin canopies were raised over the whole expanse 
of the extensive apartment, fastened with red silken cords from which 
were suspended large tassels of silk and gold. The floor was covered 
entirely with carpets of the richest silk, of immense length and 

As regards the female side of the court, although this had almost 
a separate organization and was, in keeping with Moslem and Indian 
tradition, to a large extent secluded, yet the imperial ladies possessed 
a measure of freedom through two centuries which allowed several 
of them to stand forth as distinct individuals, and a few to influence 
affairs profoundly. Jehangir assigned to the women of the household 
the sixth and fifth orders, or arrows, of rank. Akbar is said to have 
kept five thousand women in his harem. As usual, however, only a 
few of these were wives or votaries of the imperial pleasure; most of 
them constituted an elaborate organization for the housekeeping and 
entertainment of the few great ladies, the mother, aunts, sisters, wives, 
and favorites of the emperor. As already indicated, these women 
were of all kinds, — free-born and slave, Moslem, Christian, and pagan, 
Turki, Afghan, Persian, Hindu, Armenian, Slavic, Circassian, Georg- 
ian, and Ethiopian. Their communication with the outside world 
was kept up through their relatives and through eunuchs. 

A few of the imperial ladies may be mentioned. The princess 
Gul-Badan, third daughter of Baber and Dil-Dar, wrote a history of 
the deeds of her half-brother, Humayun. In her later life she went 
with other great ladies on pilgrimage to Mecca, taking seven years 
for the journey; one-half of this time she spent in Arabia, where 
she performed the rites of the pilgrimage four times. After twenty 
more years filled with works of piety and charity she died at the age 
of eighty. Her nephew, Akbar, with his own hand helped bear her 
to the tomb. 

Most powerful of all the Mogul imperial ladies was the Persian 
Nur-Jehan, or Nur-Mahal, wife of Jehangir. Born in poverty and 
actually cast away by her parents, she rose to the throne of command. 
Mohammad Hadi says that " by degrees she became, in all but name, 
undisputed sovereign of the empire, and the king himself became a 
tool in her hands. He used to say that Nur-Jehan Begam has been 
selected, and is wise enough, to conduct the matters of state, and that 
he wanted only a bottle of wine and a piece of meat to keep himself 
merry. Nur-Jehan won golden opinions from all people. She was 


liberal and just to all who begged her support. She was an asylum 
for all sufferers, and helpless girls were married at the expense of her 
private purse. She must have portioned above five hundred girls 
in her lifetime, and thousands were grateful for her generosity." 
Not only could she rule the empire effectively, if not always wisely 
and impartially, but she could lead armies. Defeated at last by 
Shah-Jehan, she put on perpetual robes of mourning for her dead 
husband and spent her last eighteen years in devoted seclusion. 

Mumtaz-Mahal, niece of Nur-Jchan and wife of Shah-Jehan, did not 
aspire to political control. She held fast the heart of her imperial 
husband and became the mother of his fourteen children. The 
incomparable Taj Mahal, built by the emperor after her untimely 
death, bears eternal witness to great love followed by great grief. 

Last may be mentioned two of the daughters of Mumtaz-Mahal, 
Jehan-Ara and Raushan-Ara. These ladies, like Charlemagne's 
daughters too great for matrimony, stirred up much trouble in the 
imperial household. Jehan-Ara was her father's favorite in his 
decadent old age, and an active partisan of her brother Dara. Of 
vast influence for many years, she was at length overshadowed by 
Raushan-Ara, who supported Aurangzeb and rose to greatness with 
his advancing fortunes. Bernier was well-nigh overcome by a distant 
view of this lady's majesty. " I cannot avoid dwelling on this pom- 
pous procession of the Seraglio. Stretch imagination to its utmost 
limits, and you can imagine no exhibition more grand and imposing 
than when Raushan-Ara Begam, mounted on a stupendous Pegu 
elephant, and seated in a megMambhar blazing with gold and azure, 
is followed by five or six elephants with meghdambhars nearly as re- 
splendent as her own, and filled with ladies attached to her household 
(and succeeded by the most distinguished ladies of the court) until 
fifteen or sixteen females of quality pass with a grandeur of appear- 
ance, equipage, and retinue, more or less proportionate to their rank, 
pay, and office. There is sometliing very impressive of state and 
royalty in the march of these sixty or more elephants; in their solemn 
and as it were measured steps, in the splendour of the megMaynbhars, 
and the brilliant and innumerable followers in attendance; and if I 
had not regarded this display of magnificance with a sort of philosoph- 
ical indifference, I should have been apt to be carried away by such 
flights of imagination as inspire most of the Indian poets, when they 
represent the elephants as conveying so many goddesses concealed 
from the vulgar gaze." 


The Government Proper 

" The authority of the Great Mogul was despotic by all its origins: 
by the fact of the conquest, by the Turkish tradition, by the tradition 
of the old royalties of the country "; 1 and also, it may be added, by 
the practice of Islamic governments since the abandonment of Medina 
as the seat of the caliphs. The conquering chief owned all the con- 
quered land, and the wealth and labor and hves of its inhabitants 
were at his disposal. As for the restriction of despotism by the 
Sacred Law, the house of Baber did not feel this strongly until late. 
On the other hand, even a drunkard like Jehangir had a keen sense 
of the responsibility of his high position. The emperor considered 
it his duty to maintain order, reward faithful service, and sit daily 
on the bench of justice to redress the wrongs of his people. Aurang- 
zeb is reported by Bemier to have expressed his feeling of responsi- 
bihty by saying: " Being born the son of a king and placed on the 
throne, I was sent into the world by Providence to live and labour, 
not for myself, but for others; . .. it is my duty not to think of my 
own happiness, except so far as it is inseparably connected with the 
happiness of my people. It is the repose and prosperity of my sub- 
jects that it behoves me to consult; nor are these to be sacrificed to 
anything besides the demands of justice, the maintenance of the 
royal authority, and the security of the State." One of his letters 
to his imprisoned father contains these words: " Almighty God 
bestows his trusts upon him who discharges the duty of cherishing 
his subjects and protecting the people. It is manifest and clear to 
the wise that a wolf is no fit shepherd, neither can a faint-hearted 
man carry out the great duty of government. Sovereignty is the 
guardianship of the people, not self-indulgence and profligacy. The 
Almighty will deliver your humble servant from all feeling of remorse 
as regards your Majesty." The sole fountain of legislation, the 
emperor observed economy in the issuance of it, making use, so far 
as possible, of established Islamic practice and immemorial custom. 
Yet from time to time, by administrative regulations, ordinances, 
and decrees, he sought to improve the methods of government. 
Aurangzeb, so much like Suleiman in many other respects, like him 
also ordered and financed the compilation of a code of the Sacred Law. 
It does not appear, however, that any such quantity of personal 

1 Lavisse and Rambaud, Hisloire Generale, vl. 879. 


legislation was issued by him or by any other Mogul emperor as by 
the great Ottoman. 

The succession to the Mogul throne never became regular, since 
neither by Mongol nor by Moslem custom was any one method 
prescribed. Nor did the more kindly disposition of the house of 
Baber ever permit the publication of such a decree as that of Mo- 
hammed II for the execution of brothers upon the accession of a 
sovereign. Accordingly the resources of the empire were apt to be 
wasted in civil wars between father and son, and between older and 
younger brothers. Even the sons of Baber engaged in civil war: 
Kamran, aided by Askari and Hindal, fought against Humayun. 
Akbar's brothers were so young that he had no rival at the time of 
his accession. His two elder sons drank themselves to death; but 
this did not prevent Selim, who became the emperor Jehangir, from 
rebelling against his father and hastening the latter's death. Jehan- 
gir's two sons rebelled against him in turn. Shah-Jehan's four sons, 
Dara, Shuja, Murad, and Aurangzeb, fought together until the last 
encompassed the death of the others, besides keeping his father a 
prisoner during the last seven years of life. The mournful story need 
not be carried beyond the fierce civil war which followed the death 
of Aurangzeb, in which two of his sons were slain. Clearly, the 
Ottoman method was more practical if less humane. So unstable 
was the personal situation of the emperor that, if he failed to show 
his face in public daily, the empire fell into commotion and civil war 
became imminent. From the uncertainty of the succession the state, 
at least, derived this benefit, that the fittest of the candidates for 
power was likely to obtain the throne. Nevertheless, as Dow says, 
" to be born a prince " of the Mogul Empire was " a misfortune of the 
worst and most embarrassing kind. He must die by clemency, or 
wade through the blood of his family to safety and empire." 

As the army was the defence and prop of the Mogul government, 
so finance was its sustenance. Here again the regulations of the 
Sacred Law were but scantily observed. Akbar, aided by Todar 
Mai and extending the methods of the Afghan Sher Shah, reduced 
to order and regularity the existing revenue system, which in the 
course of centuries of varj'ing rule had become much confused. By 
ancient custom of India, the sovereign as primary owner of the land 
was entitled to one-third of the crops in kind. It was Akbar's task 
to change the system to a more modern money regime, a step in 
progress which the Ottomans have not been able to take even to the 


present day. In classical times as in late years, India, importing less 
of other commodities than she exported, steadily absorbed gold and 
silver. It is likely that a large share of the wealth of the newly- 
discovered Americas had already by Akbar's day made its way to India 
through the increasing Portuguese trade, and that Columbus, Cortes, 
and Pizarro thus unwittingly gave him the means of modernizing his 
land revenue. Several great tasks were involved in the change. All 
the cultivated land of India had to be measured, its quality judged, its 
average annual produce for the first nineteen years of Akbar's reign 
calculated, and the amount of the government's share for each tract 
reduced to current money. At first, it was attempted to renew the 
settlement annually; but, since this proved very difficult in a large 
and conservative land, a ten-year basis was eventually adopted. 
When the British came to power they found the revenue in a state 
of confusion which indicated that at some time during the Mogul 
period the evaluation had ceased to be made regularly, modifications 
of the last assessment having then been introduced successively, 
until all system had disappeared. 

The imperial revenue was collected by a separate hierarchy of 
ofl&cials. The great provinces were divided into districts, or sirkars, 
in each of which a Diwan was chief financial agent. His office was 
the Defter ali, and his clerks were Mutasidis. In lesser districts the 
collectors were Amils or Karoris, the treasurers Fotadars. Karkums 
were appointed to settle disputes and audit accounts. The crown 
revenue might be farmed out, in areas of a size comparable to the 
jagirs, to officials known as Zamindars or Talukdars, who in the days 
of decline strove to make their position hereditary. In the local unit, 
or pargana, the government was represented by a Kanungo, who kept 
the records of assessments and payments. Akbar took measures 
also to bring under cultivation waste and abandoned lands, and 
appointed for this purpose Karoris, whose efforts were attended with 
much success. In the best days the imperial financial officers acted 
as a check upon the civil and miHtary officials, upholding ahke the 
interests of emperor and common people. Evidence exists, however, 
that even in the time of Akbar there was financial corruption, and 
that revenue officials were not lacking who plundered the people and 
defrauded the emperor. 

The granting oi jagirs to officers and Rajahs, of pensions to learned 
men and others, and of land in full title, free from revenue, for relig- 
ious foundations seems to have diverted from the royal treasury 


about two-thirds of the possible land revenue. On the other hand, 
it has been estimated that the emperor received from customs, tolls, 
miscellaneous taxes, and presents an amount equal to what he got 
from the land. Careful calculations have resulted in ascribing to 
Akbar a revenue of over two hundred million dollars annually, and 
to Aurangzeb as much as four hundred and fifty million dollars. 
Suleiman's revenue would then have been not the tenth part of 
Akbar's and Louis XIV's not the tenth part of Aurangzeb's, 

This revenue was expended upon the standing army, the court, 
the support of learned and religious persons, a series of building 
operations which were perhaps costly beyond parallel, bountiful gifts 
at certain seasons, and regular charities. It would appear, farther, 
that the expenses of the provincial governments were deducted from 
the imperial land revenue after it had been estimated but before it 
was paid into the treasury. In spite of the lavish outflow, however, 
an enormous treasure seems to have been accumulated. By Man- 
delslo it was estimated in 1638 at the incredible sum of one and a 
half billion crowns, equivalent to about the same number of dollars! 

It was probably because of the greatly increased revenue which 
Akbar obtained by his new method that he found it possible to remit 
the jizyeh or capitation tax on non-Moslems, and also the tax on pil- 
grims, which had made the earlier Moslem rule obnoxious to the Hindu 
population. On the other hand, it may have been not merely religious 
zeal, but also financial stress caused by the civil wars preceding his 
accession, by the Rajput revolt, by the long struggle in the Deccan, 
and by the pious remission of many taxes not authorized by the 
Sacred Law, including the tax on Hindu temple lands, that influenced 
Aurangzeb to reimpose the capitation tax, and thus open wide the 
rifts in his disintegrating empire. 

In the days of its greatness, the budget of the Mogul Empire, alike 
in income and expenditure, reached a height which had rarely if ever 
been attained before. That of the East Roman Empire under the 
Macedonian dynasty, and of the Saracen Empire in the days of 
Harun Al-Rashid, may have rivalled it; but it is probable that only 
the great Western powers, enriched by the industrial revolution in 
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, have ever reached 
a financial magnitude beyond that of the empire of Aurangzeb. 

Humayun divided the responsibilities of government among four 
ministers, and a fourfold division persisted at least as late as Aurang- 
zeb. By a curious form of logic the ckissification of duties and the 


names of the four departments were based, not on convenience, but 
on relation to the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. The 
Khaki department had the care of agriculture, buildings, and domain 
lands; the Hawai, of the wardrobe, the kitchen, the stables, and the 
like; the Ateshi, of the artillery and the making of war material and 
other things in which fire was employed; and the Abi, of the emperor's 
drinks, and canals, rivers, and water-works. When Khondamir 
wrote, about 1534, one man had oversight of all four departments; 
but the development of a regular supreme official of great power, like 
the grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire, seems never to have taken 
place, no doubt because the imperial house did not abandon the 
tradition of personal government. 

Humayun set aside two days of the week for business of state. 
Drums were beaten to summon ofl&cials and give notice that the hall 
of audience was open. Any subject might appear and ask for justice. 
Suits of fine apparel and purses of money were at hand to reward 
the worthy, and executioners stood by with drawn swords to punish 
the guilty. Guns were fired at the close of the audience to notify 
officials that they might retire. Aurangzeb held general court in the 
great hall of audience for two hours on regular days. Persons who 
had petitions to present held them up, and these were taken by the 
emperor, read by him, and often granted on the spot. On at least 
one day in the week he sat with the two Kazis of the city, and on 
another day he heard privately ten cases of persons of low rank. In 
the evening the chief ofiicers were commanded to be present in a smaller 
hall, where Aurangzeb sat to " grant private audiences to his officers, 
receive their reports, and deliberate on important matters of state." 
This gathering resembled the Divan of Suleiman, but it lacked most 
of the latter 's judicial work; in India such work was done by the 
chief judges sitting separately, or by the emperor in the great audi- 
ences. Furthermore, it was the sovereign and not a grand vizier 
who presided in this council. The assembly was deliberative in 
matters of policy and general administration, and judicial in that it 
had jurisdiction of cases which involved ofiicers of high rank. 

For purposes of local government the empire was divided into 
subahs, or provinces, each under a Nawab (a plural of majesty, 
from naib, often called "nabob" by Westerners), or governor. 
Under Akbar the number of subahs varied from fifteen to eighteen. 
Like the Beylerbeys of the Ottoman Empire, the Nawabs tended to 
increase in number, the size of their provinces diminishing accordingly. 


The Nawab was almost a little emperor in his province. He held 
audiences, commanded the army, conferred lesser titles, appointed 
and dismissed most officials, and was the highest judicial authority. 
His power was limited, however, by the emperor's right to recall him, 
by the right of apjx'al in judicial cases from him to the emperor, 
and by the fact that the financial and judicial officers were separately 
appointed and were responsible only to the throne. The Nawab 
and his court were supported by lands granted in jagir. He might 
suspend the jagirs of officers pending imperial decision. He was 
responsible for the security and order of his province, and had Faujdars 
under him in the several districts, who exercised military command 
and the powers of chief of police and police judge, their position 
resembling somewhat that of the Sanjak Beys of the Ottoman system. 
The chief financial officers in each province were the Diwans, who, 
as explained above, collected the imperial revenue and had oversight 
of all lesser revenue officers. They and their deputies possessed 
judicial powers in cases concerning finance and land titles. The 
chief judge of the province, subject however to appeals to the governor, 
was the Nizam. He heard the serious criminal cases, and his deputy, 
the Daroga Adaulat al Aulea, attended to most of the important civil 
ones. Local Kazis, aided by Muftis, Mohtesibs, and Kuhvals or 
mayors, kept order in the smaller cities and districts. Rajahs who 
had made terms with the emperor exercised powers very similar to 
those of the Nawabs. Their positions were secured by heredity, 
however, and in their provinces the imperial financial and judicial 
officers had no jurisdiction. They simply owed military service and a 
certain amount of tribute, failing in which they might be reduced by 
force of arms. The Ottoman system contained no subjects who were 
at once so secure of their positions, so nearly independent, and so 
powerful as the Rajahs. Kurdish, Albanian, and Arabian chieftains 
were perhaps as secure and as independent, but they were of very 
small wealth and might; while the Voivodes of Wallachia and ^lol- 
davia were not so secure or so independent. 

The condition of the common people under this government is to be 
known mainly by inference. Various documents and acts show the 
benevolent intentions of emperors and high officials toward the 
masses. Whether from wise prevision or from genuine charitable 
feeling, there appears to have been much solicitude lest the cultivators 
of the soil should be reduced to utter penury or driven from their 
lands. Akbar, for instance, issued strict orders that on military 


expeditions nothing should be taken from the people without careful 
assessment and immediate or subsequent payment. Nevertheless, 
at the best the result of the general policy was to leave the cultivator 
little more than a bare living. The whole system drained away wealth 
to a few great cities and a comparatively few persons. If but few 
complaints rose from the masses, it was because their lot was no 
worse than that of their forefathers had been for many generations. 
Aside from the periods of civil war, the Moguls gave peace and order. 
Akbar removed internal tolls two centuries before such a thing was 
accomplished in France, and thus made of the land a single economic 
unit, with the result that in his reign India as a whole enjoyed 
such prosperity as she has known at very few other periods in her 

Before the time of Aurangzeb special care was taken to conciliate 
the Hindus. Akbar adopted definitely the policy of equal treatment 
for all, a degree of toleration not to be found in the contemporary 
Europe of William the Silent and Henry of Navarre. The government 
strove to abolish or mitigate such Hindu practices as were abhorrent 
to Mohammedanism, and at least one Moslem practice which offended 
the Hindus. Child-marriage, the ordeal, and animal sacrifice were 
forbidden. Widows were to be burned on the funeral pyres of their 
husbands only with their own full consent, and those who preferred to 
live might marry again. In the Rajput tributary states Hindu law of 
course prevailed. Probably in the regions under direct Mogul rule 
Hindus were judged by their own law when Moslems were not con- 
cerned and perhaps even by their own judges. It is true that the 
Hindus had to wait until Akbar came to be released from the personal 
disabilities imposed by earlier Moslem conquerors, that their temple 
lands were taxed until the time of Aurangzeb, and that Brahmans, 
pundits, and fakirs were perhaps only in Akbar's presence treated with 
respect equal to that accorded Sheiks, Seids, and Ulema. But the 
emperors and their officers gave like justice to all; they permitted 
every man to worship according to the rites of his forefathers, and 
apparently never had a thought, as had Selim the Cruel, of giving to 
all non-Moslem subjects the choice between Islam and death. There 
was little ground for discontent until Aurangzeb began to apply a 
harsher policy. 


The Moslems and the Moslem Church 

In comparison with conditions in the Ottoman Empire, Moslems 
and non-Moslems in the India of the early Moguls were far more 
nearly on a level. This was due not merely to the toleration and 
indifference of the emperors, but even more to the circumstances of 
the conquest, under which both groups were treated alike, since Baber 
at Panipat in 1526 subdued the Moslem Lodi Sultans of Delhi, and at 
Kanwaha in 1527 the Hindu Rajj)ut confederacy. Indian-born 
worshippers of Allah and of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva were mingled 
in the same vast mass of conquered subjects, equally separated from 
the victorious invaders. There was also, in all probability, a much 
greater diflerence of race between Baber's highlanders and the Mos- 
lems that he found in India than between the latter and the Hindus; 
for many inter-marriages had taken place, and many natives of India 
had joined the followers of the Prophet. Time, of course, diminished 
this distinction. 

Suleiman was distinctly the head of the Moslems of his empire. 
Through his appointee the Sheik-ul-Islam, through his Hoja, the 
Kaziaskers, the Nakib-ol-Eshraf, and other learned and saintly per- 
sonages, he kept in close touch with the religious chiefs of the Moham- 
medan population. All who prayed toward Mecca, at least from the 
older portions of the Ottoman Empire, were attached by many ancient 
ties to the house of Osman. Their ancestors had perhaps been con- 
verts through its activities, had certainly fought for it, and had seen 
its gradual and vigorous rise to greatness. No such vital bonds joined 
to the Moguls the great mass of their Moslem subjects. These 
remembered the glories and fa\'ors of lost d\Tiasties, and were indebted 
to the new sovereigns only for defeats and humiliations which depressed 
them toward the level of the Hindus, whom they had for centuries 
held to be far inferior to themselves. They had no Shcik-ul-lslam, 
honored by the sovereign with a seat above his own, whose decisions 
might determine the fate of the ruler or of the empire. Almost as 
much to them as to the Hindus the emperor was a stranger and a 
foreigner, to whom should be rendered, because of his power, full 
submission and instant obedience, but not loyal affection and whole- 
hearted devotion. There was ever an absence of solidarity between 
the house of Tlmur and those Moslem subjects who had not come 
into India in the service of that house, and this was not least among 
the elements of weakness that shortened the life of the empire. When 


Rajputs had been stirred to revolt, when Mahrattas had gro\Mi 
great, when bronzed and capable Moguls had been supplanted by 
" pale persons in petticoats," who were left to rally about the tottering 
throne ? More than two and a half centuries have elapsed since the 
Ottomans ceased to draw systematically from the strength of the 
Christian population, and yet the fighting stock of their Moslem 
subjects has never failed or grown weak or faltered in its loyalty; 
but Aurangzeb's successors found few upon whom to rely, and of this 
few a very small proportion who would sacrifice their own fortunes 
freely, who would be faithful unto death. 

The Moguls found in India Sheiks, Dervishes, Seids, and Ulema, 
mosques, schools, and pious foundations in abundance. In fact, 
the developed system of Mohammedanism had extended itself over 
India with visible results very much like those in all other Moslem 
lands, among them the Ottoman Empire. From the ranks of those 
educated in Moslem lore were taken teachers, judges, and counselors- 

There must have existed for the children of the Moslem population 
mektebs, ordinary medressehs, and law schools, in which the Arabic 
language and the sciences built upon the Koran, as well as the Persian 
language and literature were taught. No doubt, also, the imperial 
household contained systems of education, arranged for the two sexes 
separately and prepared to train imperial and noble children and 
young attendants, servants, and slaves in the knowledge which was 
thought best adapted to fit them for life. It is interesting to notice 
what impression the teaching regularly given to a young prince made 
(if Bernier can be trusted) upon the keen intellect of Aurangzeb. 
When the latter became emperor, his old teacher, it appears, con- 
fidently presented himself at Delhi for reward. What, then, must 
have been his surprise to receive such a deliverance as this from the 
lips of majesty! 

" Was it not incumbent upon my preceptor to make me acquainted 
with the distinguishing features of every nation of the earth; its 
resources and strength; its mode of warfare, its manners, religion, 
form of government, and wherein its interests principally consist, 
and, by a regular course of historical reading, to render me familiar 
with the origin of States; their progress and decline; the events, 
accidents, or errors, owing to which such great changes and mighty 
revolutions have been effected ? . . . A familiarity with the language 
of surrounding nations may be indispensable in a king; but you would 


teach me to read and write Arabic; doubtless conceiving that you 
placed me under an everlasting obligation for sacrificing so large a 
portion of time to the study of a language wherein no one can hope to 
become proficient without ten or twelve years of close application. 
Forgetting how many important subjects ought to be embraced in the 
education of a prince, you acted as if it were chiefly necessary that he 
should possess great skill in grammar, and such knowledge as belongs 
to a Doctor of Law; and thus did you waste the precious hours of my 
youth in the dry, unprofitable, and never-ending task of learning 
words! . . . Ought you not to have instructed me on one point at 
least, so essential to be known by a king, namely, on the reciprocal 
duties between the sovereign and his subjects ? Ought you not also 
to have foreseen that I might at some future period be compelled 
to contend with my brothers, sword in hand, for the crown, and for 
my very existence ? Such, as you must well know, has been the fate 
of the children of almost every king of Hindustan. Did you ever 
instruct me in the art of war, how to besiege a town, or draw up an 
army in battle array ? Happy for me that I consulted wiser heads 
than thine on these subjects! Go! withdraw to thy village. Hence- 
forth let no person know either who thou art or what is become of 

In this rebuke, whether it comes chiefly from Bernier or from 
Aurangzeb, is excellent criticism upon the stereotyped Moslem educa- 
tion, and material enough to cheer the hearts of modern advocates 
of a closer relation between subjects of instruction and the business 
of life. 

The lack of solidarity between the mass of the Moslems of India 
and the Mogul government, together with the religious indifference of 
several emperors, prevented the Moslem church there from reaching 
the full measure of the dignity, influence, and authority of the Moslem 
Institution in the Ottoman Empire. Humayun's division of the 
household into three classes shows that he gave highest rank not to 
the clergy but to princes of the blood, with nobles and ministers of 
state and military men. " The holy persons, the great Muslieiks 
(religious men), the respectable Seids, the literati, the law officers, 
the scientific persons, poets, besides other great and respectable men 
formed the second class." The orders, or arrows, of nobility show a 
little more definitely the place of the Moslem learned men, since they 
are assigned to the tenth order, after the monarch and the princes 
of the blood and the Rajahs. 


In the palace-city of Fatehpur-Sikri, Akbar built a great hall, the 
Ibadat-Khana, to which he repaired on holy nights with Sheiks, 
Seids, Ulema, and nobles. Finding that his followers could not keep 
the peace when mingled indiscriminately, he assigned one of the four 
sides of the hall to each group. Here he was accustomed to hsten to 
theological discussions; and it appears that what he heard tended to 
destroy his respect for the faith of the Prophet, and to predispose his 
mind toward the eclectic religion which he instituted later. Says 
Badauni: "The learned doctors used to exercise the sword of their 
tongues upon each other, and showed great pugnacity and animosity, 
till the various sects took to calling each other infidels and perverts." 
In course of time Akbar obtained a document signed by the principal 
Ulema, to the effect that a just ruler is higher in the eyes of God than 
a doctor of the law (Mtijtahid), that Akbar was a just ruler, and that 
therefore his decrees in matters of religion were binding upon the 
world. This declaration placed Akbar distinctly above the Moslem 
church and at least on a level with the prophet Mohammed; and he 
seems even to have played with the idea that he was himself God. 
Certainly he hoped to unify all creeds by his " di\'ine faith." His 
son and grandson were not much interested in religion, and not at all 
inclined to assume actively the religious headship of the empire; 
under them, the Moslem church had to take care of itself. Religious 
interest appeared again in Aurangzeb, not in any spirit of free inquiry, 
but in a rigid conformity to the rules of the Sacred Law. From those 
youthful days when he preferred the meagre Hfe of a saint to the 
splendors of princely state, down to the long-deferred close of his 
troubled career, Islam knew no more faithful observer of its rites and 
prescriptions. In Aurangzeb 's reign and in his alone did the Mos- 
lem rehgion take such a place in India as in the Turkey of Suleiman's 

The learned Moslems of the Mogul Empire never had as the head 
of their hierarchy a personage of such dignity and power as the Sheik- 
td-Islam of Constantinople. The Sadr Jehan appears to have been 
concerned chiefly with the granting of land from the treasury to 
learned and religious persons in lieu of pensions. The hierarchy of 
judges seems to have been complete, at least in territory that was 
directly administered, with two officials at court who corresponded 
to the Kaziaskers of Suleiman, and with Kazis of high rank in the chief 
city of each province and of lesser rank in other cities ; but the func- 
tions of these officers appear to have been more closely restricted 


than in the Ottoman Empire, by reason of the superior jurisdictions of 
the em[)eror and the governors, and of the criminal and financial 
jurisdictions of the Nizams and Diwans and their deputies. As there 
is little mention of the muftis, it would seem that their role was not 
very important. 

The Moslem church in India was not of the very fabric of empire. 
The imperial family and most of their associates in government ad- 
hered to it; but it had no thorough control of education and justice, 
and no power to sanction war or pronounce the deposition of an em- 
peror. It did not curb the spirit of the nation or lay a hea\y hand 
upon progress; but, as it w'as relatively unable to hinder by its weak- 
nesses, so it could not contribute its abiding strength. The Mogul 
Empire is but a memory. The Moslem church of India thrives and 
grows under the rule of aliens of another faith. 

Books Consulted in the Preparation of Appendix IV 

Baden-Powell, B. H. A short account of the land revenue and its ad- 
ministration in British India. 2d edition. Oxford, 1907. 

Bayley, Sir E. C. The local Muhammadan dynasties. Gujarat. Lon- 
don, 1886. — A sequel to Elliot's History of India. 

Bernier, Francois. Travels in the Mogul empire, a.d. 1656-1663. 
Westminster, 1891. — [As quoted by Lane-Poole and others.] 

Crichton, A. S. The Mohammedans as rulers of India. In The Moslem 
World, i. 99-116. London, 191 1. 

Dow, Alexander. The history of Hindostan. 3 vols. London, 1770- 

Elliot, Sir H. IVI., and Dowson, John. The history of India, as told 
by its own historians. 8 vols. London, 1867-1877. — \'ol. v (1873) 
contains extracts from Khondamir, Badauni, Nizam uddin Ahmad, 

Gul-badan Begam. The history of Humayun (Humayun-nama). Trans- 
lated by Annette S. Beveridge. London, 1902. 

Holden, E. S. The Mogul emperors of Hindustan. New York, 1895, 

Hunter, Sir W. W. A brief history of the Indian peoples. 23d edition. 
[Oxford, 1903.] 

Irvine, William. The army of the Indian Moghuls; its organization 
and administration. London, 1903. 

The Bangash Nawabs of Farrukhabad. J. R. A. S., Bengal, 1878, 

340 ff. 

Keene, H. G. The fall of the Moghul empire of Hindustan. New edition. 
London, 1887. 

The Turks in India. London, 1S79. 

Lane-Poole, Stanley. Aurangzlb. (Rulers of India series.) O.xford, 


Lane-Poole, Stanley. Babar. (Rulers of India series.) Oxford, 1899. 
Mediasval India under Mohammedan rule (a.d. 712-1764). New 

York, 1903. 
Lyall, Sir A. C. The Moghul empire. In Cambridge Modern History, 

vi. 506-529. New York, 1909. 
Malleson, G. B. Akbar. (Rulers of India series.) Oxford, 1908. 
Rambalt), Alfred. Organisation de I'empire mongol. In Lavisse and 

Rambaud's Histoire Generale, vi. 878-883. Paris, 1895. 
Ritchie, Leitch. A history of the oriental nations. 2 vols. London, 

Roe, Sir Thomas. Journal of his embassy to the court of the Great Mogul. 

1615-1619. In Hakluyt Society's publications, 2d series, vols. i-ii. 

London, 1899. — [As quoted by Lane-Poole and others.] 



I. Sources of Ottoman Governmental Ideas 

Three traceable lines of influence can be followed from the earliest 
times until their appearance in the Ottoman government of the six- 
teenth century. The oldest began in Egypt, and continued down 
through various dynasties until the Roman conquest, after which it 
began to enter the Roman imperial government. From this it passed 
to the Byzantine and thence to the Ottoman system. Locally again 
it followed a more direct course through the Fatimides and Mame- 
lukes until the time of Selim I's conquest of Egypt. The slave 
government of the Mamelukes offers an interesting subject for com- 
parison with the Ottoman Ruling Institution. It would be super- 
fluous to give references for this line of development, except perhaps to 
mention Sir William Muir's book, The Mameluke or Slave Dynasty of 
Egypt (London, 1896), and Stanley Lane-Poole's Egypt in the Middle 
Ages (London, 1901). 

The second line, which seems to have contributed a greater number 
of elements, came down in the Bagdad-Euphrates valley through 
various governments to the Saracen and Seljuk empires, from which 
it passed to the Ottomans. Here again no general references need be 
given. Perhaps the most useful book in connection with the subject 
is D. B. McDonald's Moslem Theology, Jurisprudence, and Constitu- 
tional Theory (New York, 1903). 

The third and most direct line of influence is through the Tatars of 
the steppe lands. In A. H. Keane's Man, Past and Present (Cam- 
bridge, England, 1899) there is a full and clear discussion of the 
anthropological relationships of the Turks. E. H. Parker's A Thou- 
sand Years of the Tartars (London, 1895) gives an account which is 
based closely upon the Chinese sources, but which would be helped 
by the addition of as many of the two or three thousand notes which 
he did not print as w^ould show the sources of his information. The 
Chinese story of the great Tatar empire of the sixth century a.d. 
may be found in Stanislas Julien's Documents Historiques sur les 



Tou-Kious (Paris, 1877). W. Radloff's AlUilrkischen Inschriften der 
Mongol ei (Leipsic, 1894-95) discusses the earliest knowTi Turkish 
monuments, which date from the eighth century. Emil Bretsch- 
neider's Medieval Researches from Eastern Asiatic Sources (2 vols., 
London, 1888, new edition, 1910) gives an account of the Uigurs, 
whose greatness came in the eighth and ninth centuries and whose 
name persisted until at least the twelfth century, as is shown by the 
oldest known Turkish book, which is in their dialect. 

This old book has been printed, with original Syriac text, translitera- 
tion into Roman characters, and German translation, by Arminius 
(Hermann) Vambery, under the title Uigurische Sprachmonu?nente und 
das Kudatku Bilik (Innsbruck, 1870). The Kudatku Bilik, the " Wis- 
dom that Blesses," written at Kashgar in 1068 by Yusuf Khass Hajil, 
is really an " Art of Government," composed for the instruction of a 
Turkish prince. It contains in rhymed couplets, arranged in chapters, 
a large amount of advice on governmental matters, much of it being 
in the form of proverbs. The book throws a great deal of light on 
the fundamental Ottoman character. Vambery has also made a 
study, on a philological basis, of the civilization of the Tatars, entitled 
Die Primitive Cultur des Tiirko-tatarischen Volkes (Leipsic, 1879). 

A book equally remarkable with the Kudatku Bilik is the Siasset 
Nameh, written in 1092 for the Seljuk sultan Melek Shah by the great 
vizier Abu 'Ali al Hasan b. Ishaq (known better by his title, the 
Nizam al-Mulk), and printed in the original Persian, with a French 
translation, by Charles Schefer, Paris, 1893. This " Book of Govern- 
ment " reveals to some extent three things, — the methods of govern- 
ment of Sassanian times, the actual government under Melek Shah, 
and the Seljuk government as the Nizam al-Mulk would have it. 
It also sheds much light upon Ottoman institutions. 

The best general book on the Turks in Central Asia and their activi- 
ties down to the occupation of Asia Minor is undoubtedly Leon 
Cahun's Introduction a VHistoire de VAsie: Turcs et Mongols (Paris, 
1896). The same ground is covered briefly by Cahun in Lavisse and 
Rambaud's Histoire Generale, vol. ii. ch. xvi. There is a great deal 
of information about the Persians and the Seljuk Turks in E. G. 
Browne's Literary History of Persia (2 vols., London, 1902-1906). 
Maximilian Bittner has made a valuable study of the Turkish language, 
entitled Der Einfluss des Arabischen und Persischen auf das Tiirkische 
(Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Sitzungsberichte der 
Philosophisch-Historischen Classe, vol. cxlii. pt. iii. Vienna, 1900). 


Sir W. M. Ramsay's books are valuable for a study of the settlement 
of the Turks in Asia Minor, particularly his Historical Geography of 
Asia Minor (London, 1890), llie Geographical Conditions determining 
History and Religion in Asia Minor (with comments by D. G. Hogarth, 
H. H. Howorth, and others, Geographical Jimrnal, September, 1902, 
XX. 257-282), and Studies in the History and Art of the Eastern 
Provinces of the Roman Empire (Aberdeen, 1906). Volume v of 
H. F. Helmolt's Weltgesckichte (Leipsic, etc., 1905) is useful for its 
attempt to trace the elements of Ottoman culture which were derived 
from Byzantine and other sources. William Miller's The Latins in 
the Levant (New York, 1908) gives a clear picture of the confused and 
divided state of affairs to which the Ottomans put an end in their 
rough way. 

II. The Ottoman Government in the Sixteenth 


Abundant material for a study of the sixteenth-century Ottoman 
government has been provided and preserved; for the great place 
which the expanding empire held in the world developed an immense 
interest in its affairs on the part of the West, and made it worth the 
while of many of its Western residents to prepare descriptions of its 
outstanding features, among which its peculiar government was 
treated with special fulness. The writings of these men of various 
Western nationalities are in a way more helpful than a similar number 
of books from native writers would be, because the foreigners could 
usually take nothing for granted, but were compelled to draw a com- 
plete picture. They could not, on the other hand, get at the inner 
springs of the Ottoman activity as well as natives could; nor do 
any of them, with the exception of Menavino, seem actually to have 
read and knowTi the Ottoman laws. Fortunately, Ottoman his- 
torians began to write abundantly shortly before the reign of Suleiman. 
For Suleiman's own time, the collections of his Kanuns (since he was 
noted as a legislator) contain much material which helps toward an 
understanding of his government; moreover, writers of a later date 
have been drawn with special interest toward his reign, as the cUmax 
of Ottoman greatness. At the same time, no one but Zinkeisen has 
attempted to give an extended account of the Ottoman government as 
it was in the sixteenth century. 

No reasonably complete bibliography of books relating to Turkey 
has been made. The following lists are worthy of mention as giving 


information in regard to the material for a study of Turkish history 
and institutions before the year 1600: — 

Richard Knolles gives a bare list of his authorities, to the number 
of about twenty-five, at the beginning of his Generall Historie of the 
Turkes, London, 1603. 

J. H. Boeder published at Bautzen in 171 7 a Commentarius His- 
torico-Politicus de Rebus Turcicis, in which he gives, at pp. i4~4i) a- 
list of 317 works on Turkish history and affairs, including 45 folio 
volumes, 128 quartos, 98 octavos, and 45 duodecimos. 

Joseph von Hammer discusses his authorities in the preface to 
volume i of his Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches (Pest, 1827); and 
in volume x, pp. 57-336 (1835), he prints a hst containing 3,025 titles 
of works relating to Ottoman history which were to be foimd in Europe 
outside of Constantinople. 

Amat'di San Filippo, in his Biografia dei Viaggiatori Italiani, etc. 
(2 vols., Rome, 1882), gives accounts of many of the early Italian 
writers on Turkish affairs. 

Henri Hauser, in his edition of Du Fresne-Canaye, described below 
(p. 319), prints as Appendix II an Essai d'une Bibliographie des Ouv- 
rages de XV le Siecle relatifs au Levant. The list, which does not 
pretend to completeness, contains about 60 different titles. 

The catalogue of the library of Count Paul Riant, pubHshed in two 
parts at Paris in 1899, also contains the titles of a great number of 
books and pamphlets which relate to the subject under discussion. 
Most of this material has been transferred to the Ottoman collection 
of the Library of Harvard University, through the generosity of 
Messrs. J. R. Coolidge and A. C. Coolidge, — a gift, it may be added, 
that has made the preparation of the present treatise possible. There 
are also many titles on early Ottoman history in the catalogue of 
Charles Schefer's Oriental library (published at Paris in 1899), from 
which the same donors have contributed 445 volumes to the Harvard 
Ottoman collection. 

The list given in the Cambridge Modern History, i. 700-705, 
in connection with Professor J. B. Bury's chapter on " The Ottoman 
Conquest," is fuller than most of those just mentioned. It omits 
some valuable authorities, however, such as Schiltberger, Menavino, 
Ramberti, and Busbecq. 

It is possible to get contemporaneous views of the Ottoman Empire 
at a date earlier than the beginning of the sixteenth century, though 
they are all incomplete. The first accoimts go back to the battle of 


NicopoHs in 1396. Froissart (Chroniques, ed. Lettenhove, xv. 319 ff., 
Brussels, 1871), in a description of the battle and succeeding events 
which was based on accounts given by Jacques du F"ay and Jacques de 
Helly, gives some idea of the Turkish army and the sultan. A better 
account for the present purpose is that by Johann Schiltberger (trans- 
lated into English by J. B. Telfer, and published by the Hakluyt 
Society as The Bondage and Travels of Johann Schiltberger, London, 
1879). Schiltberger, then a youth of sixteen, was taken prisoner at 
Nicopolis, and after serving as slave to Bayezid I for six years, was 
captured by Timur at the battle of Angora, 1402. He was retained 
as captive, not without important responsibilities and wide journeys, 
for twenty-five years longer, when he succeeded in escaping. It is a 
matter for regret that he says very little of his life at the sultan's court, 
since he held a position which corresponded to that of page in later 

Another general account of the Turkish polity comes from the pen 
of Bertrandon de la Broquiere, first gentleman-carver (ecuyer tran- 
chant), councillor, and chamberlain of Duke Philip the Good of 
Burgundy. In the course of a trip through the Levant he met Murad 
II in Rumelia in 1433. ^^^ observations show that many features 
of the Turkish system were then already in operation, — as the four 
pashas, the slave system, the pages, the imperial harem, the Janissaries 
(Jehaniceres), the feudal army, the Divan, etc. La Broquiere's 
memoirs are edited by Charles Schefer, under the title Le Voyage 
d'Outremer, as volume xii of Recneil de Voyages et de Documents pour 
servir a VHistoire de la Geographic depuis le Xllle jusqu'd la fin du 
XVIe Steele (Paris, 1892). The same volume contains an opinion in 
regard to the military power of the Turks by Jehan Torzelo, dating 
from the year 1439. 

Still another report was written by a Transylvanian whose name 
remains unknown, but who was a slave in Ottoman private families 
from 1436 to 1453. Evidently he had before his capture been a 
theological student who held some of the ideas that preceded the 
Reformation movement. His book had a great vogue after the year 
1509, under various titles, such as: Ricoldus, De Vita et Moribus 
Turcarum, Paris, 1509 (the attachment to the name of Ricoldus is 
purely accidental); LibcUiis de Ritu et Moribus Turcarum, Witten- 
berg, 1530 (with a preface by JMartin Luther); S. Frank, Cronica- 
Abconterfayung, etc., Augsburg, 1531; Tractatus de Moribus, etc. 
The Wittenberg edition has been used in this treatise, and is referred 


to as Tractatus. Although most of the book is theological and argu- 
mentative, it affords a great deal of information. Among other things, 
it contains what is probably the earliest mention of the tribute children 
as the regular means of recruiting the Janissaries (Ginnitscheri) . 

The next good contemporary account of the Ottoman system is 
given in the history of Chal(co) condyles (written in Greek), of which 
there are many editions and translations. The one used here is the 
French translation, Histoire de la Decadence de V Empire Grec et Etab- 
lissement de celui des Turcs, Rouen, 1670. This writer, whose story 
comes down to 1465, speaks out of his own observ^ation in describing 
the Ottoman camp and government. 

The oldest authentic Kanuns are in the Kanun-nameh of Mohammed 
II, which is translated by Hammer in his Staatsverjassung (Vienna, 
1815), 87-101. 

The earliest book that was devoted to a description of Ottoman 
manners, religion, and government is by Teodoro Spandugino Canta- 
cusino. Born of an Italian father and a Greek mother, he spent his 
life alternately in the East and the West. His book describes the 
empire as it was under Bayezid II, who died in 15 12, his information 
about the government being obtained from two very high renegade 
officials, probably Messih Pasha and Hersek-Zadeh Ahmed Pasha. 
The earliest edition was printed in French at Paris in 1 519 under the 
title Petit Traicte de VOrigine des Turcqz; later editions, with and \Ndth- 
out his name, or under the name of B. Gycaud, bear the title La 
Genealogie du Grant Turc a Present Regnant, etc. The edition used 
here is a reprint of the first French issue, edited with notes by C. 
Schefer, Paris, 1896. This writer is sometimes quoted as Spandugino, 
and sometimes as Cantacusino. The first form is used in the present 

A book that is even more valuable in some ways is Giovanni An- 
tonio Menavino's Trattato de Costumi et Vita de Turchi. The edition 
used here was printed in Florence in 1548. Mena\-ino came of a 
wealthy Genoese family. About the year 1505, when he was twelve 
years of age, handsome, bright, and well educated for his years, he was 
captured near Corsica by corsairs, and set aside as a gift suitable for 
the sultan. Taken to Bayezid II, he pleased the old sultan greatly, 
and was placed at once in the school of pages, where, as his book shows 
throughout, he must have profited greatly by the teaching that he 
received. He describes the religion, customs, and government of the 
Ottomans in much detail. In 15 14 he was taken by Selim I on the 


expedition against Persia; but he managed to escape to Trebizond, 
whence he made his way to Adrianople, Salonika, and thence home 
to Genoa. 

A group of excellent sources for studies of both the government 
and the history of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century is 
found in the reports which the Venetian Bailos and orators extra- 
ordinary presented to their Senate. 

Venice, says Ranke, " frequently sent her most experienced and 
able citizens to foreign courts. Not content with the despatches on 
current afTairs regularly sent home every fourteen days, she further 
required of her ambassadors, when they returned after an absence of 
two or three years, that they should give a circumstantial account of 
the court and the country they had been visiting." ^ Since Con- 
stantinople was in the sixteenth century the station of first importance 
in the Venetian dii)lomatic service, it is safe to assume that the sons 
whom she sent there w^ere her most intelligent. 

A number of these Venetian reports, which do not, however, reach 
far into Suleiman's reign, are summarized by Marini Sanuto the 
Younger in his volumious Diaril, 1496-1533 (58 vols, in 59, Venice, 
1879-1903). The reports of Alvise Sagudino in 1496, and of Andrea 
Gritti in 1503, are quoted by Schefer in the introduction to his edition 
of Spandugino's work, noticed above. Rinaldo Fulin, in his Diarii e 
Diaristi Veneziani (Venice, 1881) reprints Sanuto's abstract of the 
Itinerary of Pietro Zeno, orator at Constantinople in 1523. 

The Venetian reports for the reign of Suleiman are all, so far as 
preser\'ed and known, collected in the invaluable work of Eugenio 
Alberi, Relazione degli Ambasciatori Vencti al Senato (15 vols., Florence, 
1839-1863). The three volumes of the third series (pubHshed 1840, 
1844, 1855, respectively), as well as a portion of the fifteenth volume 
or Appendix, are devoted to Turkish reports. Volume i of this series 
is also separately printed as Doaimenti di Storia Ottomana del Secolo 
XVI (Florence, 1842). A few writings are included in these volumes 
which were not reports to the Venetian senate. 

In all, thirty-nine documents are thus presented, of which sixteen 
fall wichin the reign of Suleiman. Unfortunately there is a gap 
between the years 1534 and 1553, a period for which there should be 
eight or ten documents of great value bearing on the Ottoman dealings 
with France, Austria, Spain, and Persia. 

' Leopold Ranke, The Ottoman and the Spanish Empires, Preface, i. 


These volumes contain much helpful apparatus, such as a glossary 
of Turkish words (vol. 1); notes on the Venetian embassies to the 
Porte in the sLxteenth century, with a list of the Venetian representa- 
tives (vol. ii); biographical notes concerning the writers (all three 
volumes); chronological tables, genealogies, etc. (Appendix). The 
Venetians were particularly interested in the financial side of the 
Ottoman government, its mechanism, its army, and its fleet. Many 
character descriptions of great personages enliven the pages. The 
last pages of the Appendix contain a chronological index of the Re- 
lazione and the other writings included; also an alphabetical list of 
them by authors, and chronological lists by countries. The sub- 
joined list of reports from Constantinople is taken from page 435, 
and will serve as a means of locating many references in the foregoing 
pages. The more valuable reports are distinguished by asterisks. 

Venetian Reports from Constantinople 

as given in Alberi's Relazione, 3d series, 3 vols, and Appendix 

(Florence, 1840- 1863) 

Writer Date Volume Page 

Gritti, Andrea 1503 iii i 

Giustiniani, Antonio 15 14 " 45 

Mocenigo, Alvise 1518 " 53 

Contarini, Bartolomeo 1519 " 56 

Minio, Marco 1522 " 69 

Zen, Pietro 1524 " 93 

Bragadino, Pietro 1526 " 99 

Minio, Marco 1527 " 113 

Zen, Pietro 153° " ^ ^9 

*Ludovisi, Daniello 1534 i i 

*Navagero, Bernardo 1553 " 33 

A nonimo " " i93 

*Trevisano, Domenico 1554 " m^ 

*Erizzo, Antonio 1557 "i 123 

*Barbarigo, Antonio 1558 " 145 

Cavalli, Marino 1560 i 271 

Dandolo, Andrea 1562 iii 161 

Donini, Marcantonio " " i73 

*Barbarigo, Daniele 1564 ii i 

Bonrizzo, Luigi 1565 " 61 

Ragazzoni, Jacopo 1571 " 77 

*Barbaro, Marcantonio 15 73 i 299 

Barbaro, Marcantonio " Append. 387 

Badoaro, Andrea " i 347 

*Garzoni, Costantino " " 3^9 


Venetian Reports from Constantinople {continued) 

Writer Date Volume Page 

Alessandri, Vincenzo 1574 ii 103 

Anonimo 1575 " 309 

*Ticpolo, Antonio 1576 " 129 

*Soranzo, Giacomo " " 193 

Venier, Maffeo 1579 i 437 

Anonimo 1582 ii 209 * 

Anonimo " " 427 

Contarini, Paolo 1583 lii 209 

*Morosini, Gianfrancesco 1585 " 251 

Michiel, Giovanni 1587 ii 255 

Venier, Maffeo " " 295 

*Moro, Giovanni iSQO iii 323 

*Bernardo, Lorenzo 1592 ii 321 

*Zane, Matteo 1594 iii 381 

An interesting small pamphlet is the Auszug eines Brief es . . . das 
Tiirckich Regiment unn Wesen sey, which was printed in a South- 
German dialect in 1526. It purports to be a letter from a German 
settled at Adrianople to his cousin in Germany, telling of his life as 
subject Christian under the sultan. The literary arrangement is so 
good, and the statements diverge so uniformly toward the dark side, 
that this would seem to be a pamphlet written in Germany for the 
purpose of arousing alarm and activity after the battle of Mohacs. 

Hieronymus Balbus, bishop of Gurk, published at Rome in 1526 a 
Uttle book of two essays addressed to Clement VII. The second part, 
" continens Turcarum Originem, Mores, Imperium," etc., was also 
commended to the Archduke I'erdinand. The work makes up for a 
conspicuous lack of definite and accurate information by means of 
abundant scriptural and classical quotations and allusions, vitupera- 
tion of the Turks, and assertion of their military ineffectiveness. It is 
chiefly valuable as an evidence of the " Turkish fear." 

A book that had a wide influence is Turcicarum Renim Commentarius 
addressed by Paolo Giovio, or Paulus Jovius, bishop of Nocera, to 
Emperor Charles the Fifth, and dedicated at Rome in 153 1. It was 
published in several languages; the edition used here is the Latin one, 
Paris, 1539. The book is historical except for the last ten pages, 
which contain a description of the Ottoman government with partic- 
ular reference to its military resources. Giovio published also in 

» The report at this page, though ascribed to Jacopo Soranzo, 1581, and so referred to in the 
foregoing footnotes, was really written in 15S2 by some one in his suite. 


two volumes at Florence, in 1550-1552, Historiarum sui Teniporis 
Tomtis Primus [et Secundus]. 

V. D. Tanco, or Clavedan del Estanco, a Spanish gentleman, wrote 
in his native tongue a book that was translated into Italian and 
published at Venice in 1558 under the title Libro dell' Origine et Suc- 
cessione delV Imperio de' Turchi. The basis of the work is the Com- 
mentarius of Jovius, just noticed; but this has been intelligently 
combined with information from Froissart, Aeneas Sylvius, and others. 
The latest date mentioned is 1537, and the death of Ibrahim in 1536 
is not known. 

A very valuable and interesting work is the Libri Tre delle Cose de 
Turchi, etc., pubUshed by Aldus in Venice in 1539, and reprinted 
often thereafter. It appears also as one of the component parts of the 
work puhlishedhy Aldus in I ^4T,,Viaggifatti da Vinetia, alia tana . . . 
in Costantinopoli, known sometimes simply as Viaggi alia tana, or 
" Travels to the Don." The book appeared anonymously, but it has 
been attributed with much confidence to Benedetto Ramberti (see 
Alberi, Relazione, 3d series, iii. 8; Archiv fiir Oesterreichische Geschichte, 
1897, Ixxxiii. 9; Revue Critique, 1896, i. 20-21). Ramberti accom- 
panied Ludovisi to and from Constantinople during the first six 
months of 1534. The book was written in the same year; for it 
shows that Barbarossa was made pasha while it was in process 
of composition (see above, Appendix I, p. 246, and, for the fact that 
Barbarossa was back in Algiers, May 9, 1534, see Ursu, La Politique 
Orientale de Francois I, Paris, 1908, p. 79), and in a long characteriza- 
tion at the close of the third book it represents Luigi (Alvise) Gritti, 
who was assassinated in Hungary late in 1534, as still living. 

The first book of the three describes the journey overland from 
Ragusa to Constantinople; the third book contains observations of 
no great value on the power and policies of the Turks. The second 
book is the piece de resistance. It opens with a brief description of 
Constantinople and a rapid sketch of the origin and history of the 
Ottoman Turks. An account of the Turkish government follows, 
beginning with the inside service of the household of the sultan, 
proceeding to the outside service, then taking up the chief officers of 
government, the Janissaries, the Spahis of the Porte and the auxiliary 
branches of the army. The harem, the palaces of the pages, the 
Ajem-ogklans, and the arsenal are next described; then the feudal 
army is explained as it was constituted in Europe and in Asia; and, 
finally, a Hst of the sanjakates of the empire is given. The Italian 


used is fairly good, and the style is very simple, often degenerating to 
the mere cataloguing of ofTicers. Throughout the book the financial 
aspect of the government is emphasized strongly, the incomes of all 
persons mentioned being carefully stated. This second book of 
Ramberti is of so great im{)ortance to the present treatise that it 
is given in translation as Appendix I. The text used is that of the 
Viaggi . . . alia tana (Venice, 1543). 

Standing in exceedingly close relationship to the second book of 
Ramberti is a twenty-two page pamphlet bearing the name of Junis 
Bey (lonus Bei). Written in broad Venetian dialect and printed on 
coarse paper in type of a poor quality, not kept clean, it is in two 
portions, respectively of eight and fourteen pages, which are distin- 
guished by the use of larger and smaller type. The title-page bears 
the inscription " reprinted in 1537." The sixth page begins the list 
of pashas with the statement that " Ibrahim of Parga is dead," and 
then gives the name of his successor in the office of grand vizier. 
On the seventeenth page it is said that the territories of the Beylerbey 
of Mesopotamia " border " those of Bagdad which belong to Persia 
(Bagdad was taken by Suleiman in the winter of 1535 and 1536); 
on the eighteenth occurs the remark that Alvise Gritti " says " such 
and such a thing; and at the close the book is attributed to " lonus 
bei " and " Signor Aluise gritti." Now, Junis Bey was in Venice 
from December 6, 1532, to January 9, 1533 (thesis of Theodore F. 
Jones, p. 168, Harvard College Library); Gritti was assassinated in 
1534; Junis Bey was again in Venice from January 15 to February 17, 
1537 (Jones, 2og). It seems reasonable to conclude, therefore, that 
the first edition of the pamphlet was printed at Venice in 1533 at the 
time of Junis Bey's first visit, and that at the time of his second visit 
in 1537 the first eight pages were recast with a few changes, and in 
certain unsold copies substituted for the older pages, the remainder 
being left as it stood originally, despite the erroneous reference to 

It is very clear that Ramberti had before him while preparing his 
" second book " a document almost identical with this pamphlet. 
Beginning with his description of the sultan's household service, the 
order of treatment is practically the same, and even the words and 
phrases are often the same, except for differences of dialect. His 
language frequently suggests that he is expanding on some material 
before him. It is worthy of note, however, that not only Rambcrti's 
use of ItaUan, but also his use of Turkish, is frequently better than 


that of Junis Bey. Moreover, in his list of officials he includes the 
Mufti and the chief dragoman (Terjuman), whom Junis Bey leaves 
out, the latter omission being the more remarkable in that Junis Bey 
held that office himself. On the other hand, where there are dif- 
ferences in numbers, Junis Bey is more apt to be correct than Ramberti. 
It seems not unlikely that both works were derived from a manuscript, 
more nearly complete and correct than either, in the possession of 
Alvise Gritti, which the latter allowed the two writers to use, Junis 
Bey probably in 1532 and Ramberti in 1534. Al\dse Gritti was well 
known to both. Natural son of the doge Andrea Gritti, he had won 
high favor with Ibrahim, who entrusted him with great responsibilities. 
In fact, it may not be too bold a conjecture to suggest that some of the 
information contained in his manuscript came from the celebrated 
Grand Vizier himself. Aside from this possibility, a minute survey 
of the Ottoman government, prepared by Gritti himself or with his 
collaboration, either for his own use or for the information of his 
kinsfolk the Venetians, possesses a presumption in favor of its accuracy 
and truthfulness. Accordingly the closing words, " all is true," 
may be accepted with Httle reserve. 

These two works, by Ramberti and Junis Bey, were much used by 
other writers on Turkish affairs. Postel shows a close acquaintance 
with them, and Geuffroy frequently does little more than present a 
translation. Ramberti was incorporated into a number of the col- 
lected works in regard to the Turks which appeared in various lan- 
guages after the middle of the sixteenth century and thus entered into 
systematic histories. Since the pamphlet of Junis Bey is very rare, 
its text is presented in Appendix II, above. Besides matter very 
similar to that of Ramberti, it contains near the end an account of 
the order of march of the sultan's army when he went to war. 

Guillaume Postel is perhaps the broadest-minded of the sixteenth- 
century observers. He gives evidence of ha\ang had a legal 
training, and of having reflected along political and constitutional 
lines. Nicolay, in his preface, informs us that Postel knew Latin, 
Greek, Hebrew, Chaldean, Syriac, and Arabic, as well as the principal 
Western languages. He was sent by Francis I with the momentous 
embassy of La Foret, and was therefore in Constantinople about the 
year 1535. He seems to have made a later visit for the purpose of 
acquiring manuscripts; but the substance of his book, as appears 
from numerous references, dates from the first visit. The volume 
was printed at Poitiers in 1560, but was not published till 1570. It 
contains three parts, separately paged: — 


I. De la Repuhlique des Turcs; II. Ilistoire et Consideration de 
VOrigine, Loy, et Coustume des Tartares . . . Turcs, etc., III. La 
Tierce Partie des Orientales Histoires, ou est exposee la Condition, 
Puissance, b° Revenue de VEmpire Turquesque, etc. The first part 
gives, among other things, an excellent account of the page system 
and of Ottoman law and justice. The third part is built upon the 
information in Ramberti and Junis Bey; it describes the page system 
further, and adds a good account of the Ajem-oghlans and the Janis- 
saries. By a reference it shows acquaintance with Giovio. 

Antoine Geuflroy, knight of St. John, issued in 1542 his Briefve 
Description de la Court du Grand Turc. Four years later this was 
published in English by R. Grafton under the title The Order of the 
Great Turcks Court of Eye Menne of War; and from thirty to fifty 
years later it appeared, combined with other material, in large volumes 
in the Latin and German tongues under the name of N. Honigerus or 
Haeniger, with a Latin translation by G. Godelevaeus, entitled Aulae 
Turcicae, Othomannicique Imperii Descriptio, etc. The work of 
Geuflfroy thus had a great vogue. It was a sound, intelligent descrip- 
tion of the empire, built upon the information in Ramberti and Junis 
Bey. By references and allusions it shows acquaintance with Froissart, 
Spandugino, and Giovio. The references to Geuflroy in the foregoing 
pages are to the reprint in Schefer's edition of Jean Chesneau, de- 
scribed below. 

Bartholomew Georgevitz, pilgrim to Jerusalem, issued a small 
book, De Turcarum Moribus Epitome, which passed through many 
editions in two or three languages, the first dating not later than 1544, 
and the latest not earlier than 1629. The chapters are on various 
topics and from various sources. The first, on the rites and cere- 
monies of the Turks, is abridged from Spandugino. The second, on 
the Turkish soldiery, is by Georgevitz himself; it is perhaps the most 
valuable, and shows by the age assigned to Prince Mustapha that 
it was written about 1537. The fourth chapter gives useful Turkish 
phrases, and is interesting as showing how Turkish words were pro- 
nounced in the sixteenth century. The fifth chapter gives a full 
account of the treatment of slaves of private citizens, written by one 
who had been a slave, apparently Georgevitz himself. The edition 
referred to in this treatise was printed at Paris in 1566. 

Jerome Maurand accompanied Captain Pinon on his mission to 
Constantinople in 1544. A few years later he wrote, in Italian, 
an account of his journey, which was translated by Leon Dorez as 


Itineraire de Jerome Maurand d'Antibes a Constantinople, and pub- 
lished at Paris in igoi as vol. xvii of Recueil de Voyages, etc. 

Before 1549, Ibrahim Halebi, the jurist, prepared by command of 
Suleiman the codification of the Sacred Law which bears the name of 
Multeka ol-ehhar, and which formed the foundation of D'Ohsson's 
great work. 

Jean Chesneau went to Constantinople with D'Aramont, ambassa- 
dor of Henry II of France, and accompanied him on Suleiman's 
campaign against Persia in 1549. His narrative, which is not very 
illuminating or accurate, was edited by Charles Schefer and published 
at Paris in 1887, under the title, Le Voyage de Monsieur d'Aramon, 
as vol. viii of Recueil de Voyages, etc. Boimd in the same volume are 
five letters in the Italian language, written from Constantinople in 
1547 by the ambassador Veltwyck to Archduke Ferdinand of Austria; 
there is also (at pp. 227-248) a reprint in French of the first edition of 

Nicolas de Nicolay of Dauphine, royal geographer and extensive 
traveler, who wrote a book called Discours et VHistoire Veritable des 
Navigations, Peregrinations et Voyages f aids en la Turquie, is not the 
least interesting of sixteenth-century authorities on Turkey. His 
account of his voyage from Marseilles to Constantinople in the year 
1551 in the train of the Seigneur d'Aramont, ambassador of Henry II, 
and the drawings from life with which he embellishes his book, show 
his capacity for exact observation. In his descriptions of the customs 
and government of the Ottoman Empire, however, he does not reveal 
the possession of much first-hand information. Menavino is here his 
principal source of knowledge. The first edition of his book appeared 
at Lyons in 1567; it was translated into several languages and repro- 
duced often. An enlarged edition, published at Antwerp in 1586, 
is the one referred to in the foregoing pages. The plates in the book, 
about sixty in number, have been said to be the work of Titian ; but 
this is apparently incorrect, for the preface merely states that Nicolay 
drew from life on the spot and afterwards had the drawings reproduced 
*' avecfraiz b° labeur incroyable.^' 

From a literary point of view, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq is by all 
odds the most interesting of sixteenth-century sources for the study of 
Ottoman history and government. The charm of his style should not 
obscure the facts that he was a keen and exact observer possessed of a 
true scientific spirit, and that he reflected carefully on what he saw. 
He wrote on Turkey during his period of service as ambassador from 


Charles V to Suleiman between 1555 and 1562. One of his four 
Turkish letters was printed in Antwerp in 1581, and since that time at 
least twenty-seven editions and reprints have appeared in seven 
languages. The edition of his Life and Letters, in two volumes, 
translated from the original Latin by C. T. Forster and F. H. B. 
Daniell (London, 1881), has been used in this treatise, as has also his 
De Re Mililari contra Turcam instituenda Consilium, as printed in a 
complete edition of his writings published at Pest in 1758, pp. 234- 

Philippe Du Fresne-Canaye, a young Huguenot gentleman, was 
sent by his family to Venice for safety in the troubled days after the 
massacre of St. Bartholomew; and he took advantage of his nearness 
to the Levant to visit Constantinople in 1573. He had prepared 
himself for his visit by reading Ramberti, Postel, Nicolay, and others, 
but he does not seem to have learned much that was not in those 
authorities. His Voyage du Levant was edited for publication in 
Paris in 1897 by Henri Hauser, as vol. xvi of Recueil de Voyages, etc. 
Hauser's Appendix II contains the bibliography of sixteenth-century 
works relating to the Levant which is mentioned above (p. 308). 

The Kanun-nameh of Suleiman, collected by the Mufti Ebu su'ud, 
who died in 1574, contained a number of the Sultan's Kanuns relating 
mainly to financial and feudal matters. A translation of the incom- 
plete table of contents of the Turkish manuscript copy of this Kanun- 
nameh (which is in the Imperial Library at Vienna, Fluegel No. 1816) 
is given above as Appendix HI. Many of the Kanuns are translated 
in Hammer's Staatsverfassung, pp. 396-424, where they are erroneously 
attributed to Achmet I. 

A little anonymous book. The Policy of the Turkish Empire, 
published at London in 1597, contains an interesting preface. The 
remainder of the book deals only with the Turkish religion, and is 
drawn mainly from Menavino, with some incorporation from Spandu- 
gino and Georgevitz. 

At the conclusion of Richard Knolles's Generall Ilistorie of the 
Turkes (London, 1603), is to be found "A Briefe Discourse of the 
Greatnesse of the Turkish Empire," written probably in the year 
of publication, since the story comes down to the accession of 
Achmet I in 1603. The lands of the empire, "of all others now upon 
earth farre the greatest," are described, its revenues are set forth, the 
Timariotes, the Janissaries, the chief officers of state, and the fleet 
receive notice, and the Turkish power is compared with that of all 


states which touch its frontiers. It is to this part of Knolles's work 
(as printed in the 6th edition of his History, with Ricaut's con- 
tinuation, London, 1687, ii. 981-990) that most of the references in 
the foregoing pages are made. 

Pietro Delia Valle, known as II Pellegrino, or The Pilgrim, wrote 
Viaggi . . . in la Turchia, la Persia, e V India, which was pubUshed in 
two volumes (four parts) at Rome in 1658-1663. He was in Con- 
stantinople in 1614 and 161 5, and took advantage of every opportunity 
to witness a ceremony. Observant of costumes and jewels, he could 
not esteem the Turkish officials highly, because they were all slaves. 
The references in this treatise are to the second edition of the first 
part, published in 1662. 

Many collections based on the above-mentioned writings and on 
others were issued after the middle of the sixteenth century, and many 
surveys of the Ottoman Empire were prepared as time went on. Of 
the latter, three stand forth as of sufficient importance to throw light 
on sixteenth-century conditions : — 

Sir Paul Ricaut, a resident of Turkey for many years, issued late 
in the seventeenth century The History of the Present State of the Otto- 
man Empire. He explains that he obtained his information from 
Turkish records from high officials, from members of the Ulema, and 
from a Pole who had passed through the school of pages and had spent 
nineteen years in all at the Ottoman court. Ricaut was evidently a 
student of political philosophy; he seems to have relied especially 
upon Tacitus, the ci\dl law, MachiavelH, and Lord Bacon. His book 
was printed in several languages, has been much quoted since, and 
deserv^es the fame it received. The sixth Enghsh edition, pubHshed 
in London in 1686, is used here. The book is also printed at the end 
of the second volume of his edition of Knolles's Turkish History, 
London, 1687. 

Ignatius Mouradgea D'Ohsson, born in Turkey and long a resident 
there, prepared between 1788 and 1818 his great Tableau General de 
VEmpire Othoman. He based his work on the Multeka ol-ebhar (see 
above, p. 318) which with its comments he rearranged and translated, 
adding to it a great many observations of his O'wti. The book appeared 
in two forms, the huge folio edition being a magnificent example of the 
bookmaker's art. The smaller edition of the book (7 vols., Paris, 
1788-1824) has been used here. The last three volumes were published 
under the supervision of his son after his death. SLx of the seven 
volumes are based on the Multeka; the seventh contains a full descrip- 


tion of the government, including the court, the ministers, the bureaus, 
the army, etc. 

Joseph von Hammer j^ublishcd at Vienna, in 181 5, Des Osmanischen 
Reichs Staatsvcrjassung und Staalsvcrwallung, in two volumes. The 
former is very largely a collection of documents, such as Kanuns, 
fetvas, and extracts from the Multeka. A large amount of valuable 
material is presented; but it is only partly digested, and the author 
often does not indicate clearly whence he drew his extracts. The 
second volume goes over much the same ground as D'Ohsson's seventh 
volume. Another work of Hammer's, his Geschichte des Osmanischen 
Reiches (10 vols., Pest, 1827-1835), has furnished the historical 
background for this treatise. This work is extremely valuable from 
the fact that it is based upon numerous inaccessible Turkish sources; 
but it is largely uncritical, and it does not make sufficient use of West- 
ern authorities. 

Leopold Ranke published at Hamburg in 1827 the first volume of 
his excellent work, Fiirsten und Volker von Sud-Europa. He was the 
first to discern the value of the Venetian reports, and by their aid he 
reached far greater accuracy than had yet been attained in attempts 
to describe these great South-European empires when at the height of 
their power. The English translation by W. K. Kelly, entitled 
The Ottoman and the Spanish Empires in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth 
Centuries (London, 1843), has been used in the present treatise. 

The third volume of J. W. Zinkeisen's Geschichte des Osmanischen 
Reiches in Europa (Gotha, 1855) has been used for its discussion of the 
Ottoman government in the sixteenth century. It is based too 
exclusively on the Venetian reports, which Zinkeisen seems to have 
regarded as always trustworthy, and it makes little or no use of Turkish 

Stanley Lane-Poole, in his Story of Turkey, London, 1886, chapters 
xiv and xvi, gives a very good summary of the structure of the Otto- 
man household and administration, condensed from D'Ohsson's 
seventh volume. 

In Lavisse and Rambaud's Histoire Generate, iv. 747 f!., there is 
a brief account, by Rambaud, of the organization of the Ottoman 
Empire in general. Though not accurate in every respect, it gives, 
on the whole, an excellent picture. 

A. Heidbom published at Vienna and Leipsic in 1909 a careful, 
well-planned, and extremely valuable work entitled Manuel dc Droit 
Public et AdministratiJ de V Empire Ottoman. Although the principal 


purpose of the book is to explain present-day conditions, the historical 
background is outlined at many points. Unfortunately there is 
neither table of contents nor index; but perhaps these will be supplied 
when the work is extended farther. The chapters of the present 
volume deal with the territory of the state, the sources and funda- 
mental principles of the legislation in force in the Ottoman Empire, 
the head of the state, nationality, the administrative organization, 
and justice. The chapter on justice occupies more than half the book, 
and treats fully the judicial organization, civil and criminal law, and 

In addition to the works described above, the appended alphabetical 
list contains the names of a few authors whose works, though occa- 
sionally quoted in this treatise, call for no special comment; and also 
the names of a number of writers who have dealt with the government 
of Turkey, but who have not been quoted because their information 
either is of secondary importance or derivation, or deals with a later 
time, when conditions had been changed. 

III. Alphabetical List of Works Cited 

AcHMET I. See Kanun-nameh of Achmet I. 

Albert, Eugenio. Relazione degli ambasciatori Veneti al senate. 15 

vols, (in 3 series). Florence, 1839-1863. — See pp. 311-313. 
Alessandri, Vincenzo. Relazione, 1574. In Alberi's Relazione, 3d 

series, ii. 103-127. Florence, 1844. 
Angiolello. Mss. in Bibliotheque Nationale, Fends Italien, Ne. 1238. 
AuszuG eines briefes . . . das turckich Regiment und Wesen sey. n. p. 

1526. — Seep. 313. 
[AvENTiNUS, Johannes.] Tiirckische Historien, eder Warhaftige Besch- 

reibunge aller Tiircken Ankunfft, Regierung, u. s. w. Translated 

from the Italian by Heinrich Miiller. Frankfort, 1570. — Earlier 

edition, with slightly different title, i563-[i56s]. 
Badoaro, Andrea. Relazione, 1573. In Alberi's Relazione, 3d series, 

i. 347-368. Florence, 1840. 
Balbus, Hieronymus. H . . .B. . . . ad Clementem VII . . . de civili 

& bellica fertitudine liber . . . cui additus est alter continens Tur- 

carum originem, mores, imperium, etc. Rome, 1526. — See p. 313. 
Barbarigo, Antonio. Sommarie della relazione, 1558. In Alberi's 

Relazione, 3d series, iii. 145-160. Florence, 1S55. 
Barbarigo, Daniele. Relazione, 1564. Ibid. ii. 1-59. Florence, 1844. 
Barbaro, Marcantonio. Relazione, 1573. Ihid. i. 299-346. Florence, 


Relazione, 1573. Ibid. Appendix vol., 387-415. Florence, 1863. 

Bassano, Luigi. See Du Zare. 


Baudier, Michel. Histoire gencralle du scrrail, ct dc la cour du grand 

seigneur empereur des turcs. Paris, 1626. 
Belin, A[lphonse]. Du regime des fiefs militaires dans I'lslamisme, et 

principalement en Turquie. Journal Asiatique. 6th series, xv. 187- 

301. Paris, 1870. 
£tude sur la propriete fonciere en pays musulman, et specialement 

en Turquie. Paris, 1862. 
Berard, Victor. La revolution turque. Paris, iQog. 
Bernardo, Lorenzo. Relazione, 1592. In Alberi's Rclazione, 3d series, 

ii. 321-426. Florence, 1844. 
BiTTNER, Maximilian. Der Einfluss des Arabischen und Persischen auf 

das Tiirkische. Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaflen. Sit- 

zungshrrichte der Philosophisch Uislorischcn Classe, vol. c.xlii. pt. iii. 

Vienna, 1900. — See p. 306. 
BOECLER, J. H. Commentarius historico-politicus de rebus Turcicis. 

Bautzen, 1717. — See p. 308. 
Bon, Ottaviano. II serraglio del gransignore (1608). [Edited by Gu- 

glielmo Berchet.] Venice, 1865. 
BoNRizzo, LuiGi. Relazione, 1565. In Alberi's Relazione, 3d series, 

ii. 61-76. Florence, 1844. 
Bragadino, Pietro. Sommario della relazione, 1526. In Alberi's Re- 
lazione, 3d series, iii. 99-112. Florence, 1855. 
Bretschneider, E[mil]. Medieval researches from Eastern Asiatic 

sources. 2 vols. London, iSSS; another edition, 1910. — See p. 306. 
Broscii, Moritz. The height of the Ottoman power. Cambridge Modern 

History. Vol. iii. ch. iv. London, 1904. 
Browne, E. G. A literary history of Persia. [2 vols.] London, 1902- 

1906. — See p. 306. 
Bury, J. B. The Ottoman conquest. Cambridge Modern History, vol. i. 

ch. iii. London, 1902. 
Busbecq, Ogier Ghiselin De. E.xclamatio: sive De re militari contra 

Turcam instituenda consilium, etc. In Augcrii Gisknii Busbequii 

Omnia quae extant, 234-277. Pest, [1758]. — See p. 319. 
Life and Letters. Translated by C. T. Forster and F. H. B. Daniell. 

2 vols. London, 1881. — See p. 318. 
Cahun, Leon. Introduction a I'histoire de I'Asie: Turcs et Mongols. 

Paris, 1896. — See p. 306. 
Les revolutions de I'Asie. In Lavisse and Rambaud's Histoire Generate, 

vol. ii. ch. xvi. Paris, 1893. — Formation territoriale de I'Asie. Ibid., 

vol. iii. ch. xix. Paris, 1894. 
Cambridge medieval history (The). Planned by J. B. Bury; edited by 

H. M. Gwatkin and J. P. Whitney. Vol. i. Cambridge, England, 

191 1. — See Peisker. 
Cambridge modern history (The). Edited by A. W. Ward, G. W. Prothero, 

and Stanley Lealhes. 12 vols, and Index. London, 1902-1911. — 

See Brosch, Bury. 
Cantacusino. See Spant^ugino. 
Cavalli, Marino. Relazione, 1560. In Alberi's Relazione, 3d series, 

i. 271-298. Florence, 184a 


Chal(co)condyles, L[aonicus]. Histoire de la decadence de rempire 
grec et establissement de celui des Turcs. Translated from the Greek 
by B[laise] de Vigenere. Rouen, 1670. — See p. 310. 

Chardin, Sir John. Travels into Persia and the East-Indies. London, 

Charriere, E[rnest]. Negociations de la France dans le Levant. 4 vols. 
Paris, 1 848-1 860. 

Chesneau, Jean. Le voyage de Monsieur d'Aramon (1549). Edited 
by Charles Schefer, in Recueil de Voyages, etc., vol. viii. Paris, 1887. 

— See p. 318. 

CoNTARiNi, Bartolomeo. Sommario della relazione, 1519. In Alberi's 

Rclazione, 3d series, iii. 56-68. Florence, 1855. 
CoNTARiNi, Paolo. Relazione, 1583. Ibid. 2og-2 so. Florence, 1855. 
Cronica — Abconterfayung, etc. Augsburg, 1531. — The same as 

Tractatus, q. V. 
Dandolo, Andrea. Relazione, 1562. In Alberi's Relazione, 3d series, 

iii. 161-172. Florence, 1855. 
Day, Clive. A history of commerce. New York, 1907. 
Della Valle, Pietro (II Pellegrino). Viaggi . . . in . . . laTurchia, 

la Persia, e I'lndia. 4 pts. in 2 vols. Rome, 1658-1663 (pt. i. La 

Turchia, 1662, is 2d edition). — See p. 320. 
DjEVAD Bey, Ahmed. Etat militaire ottoman. Vol. i. bk. i. Le corps 

des Janissaires. Translated from the Turkish by Georges Macrides. 

Paris, etc., 1882. 
Documenti di storia ottomana del secolo XVI. Vol. i. Florence, 1842. 

— The same as Alberi's Relazione, 3d series, i (1840). See p. 311. 
D'Ohsson, Ignatius Mouradgea. Tableau general de I'empire othoman. 

7 vols. Paris, 1 788-1824. — See p. 320. 
Donini, Marcantonio. Relazione, 1562. In Alberi's Relazione, 3d 

series, iii. 173-208. Florence, 1855. 
Dorez, Leon. See Maurant). 
Du Fresne-Canaye, Philippe. Le voyage du Levant (1573). Edited 

by Henri Hauser in Recueil de Voyages, etc., vol. xvi. Paris, 1897. 

— Seep. 319. 

Du Zare, Luigi Bassano. Consuetudines & ratio vitae Turcorum. Rome , 

Ebu su'ud. See Kanun-nameh of Suleiman. 
Eliot, Sir Charles. Turks. Encyclopedia Britannica. nth edition, 

xxvii. 468-473. Cambridge, 191 1. 
Erizzo, Antonio. Relazione, 1557. In Alberi's Relazione, 3d series, 

iii. 123-144. Florence, 1855. 
Estanco. See Tango. 

Febure, Michele. L'etat present de la Turquie. Paris, 1675. 
Froissart, Sir John. Oeuvres (chroniques). Edited by Kervyn de 

Lettenhove. 25 vols, (in 26). Brussels, 1867-1877. — See p. 309. 
Fulin, Rinaldo. Diarii e diaristi veneziani. Venice, 1881. — See p. 311. 
Garzoni, Costantino. Relazione, 1573. In Alberi's Relazione, 3d 

series, i. 369-436. Florence, 1840. 


Georgevitz, Bartholomew. De Turcarum moribus Epitome. Paris, 

1566. — See p. 317. 
Gerlacii, Stephan. Tage-buch (1674). Quoted in Zinkeisen's Ges- 

chichte dcs Osmanischcn Reiches, iii. 222 ff. Gotha, 1855. 
Geuffroy, Antoine. Bricfve description de la court du grand Turc 

(1542). Edited by Charles Schefer in Rcciicil dc Voyages, etc., viii. 

227-248. Paris, 1887. — See p. 317. 
Gibbon, Edward. The history of the decline and fall of the Roman em- 
pire. Edited by J. B. Bury. 7 vols. London, 1906. 
Giovio, Paolo (Jovius, Paulus). Historiarum sui temporis tomus primus 

[et secundus]. 2 vols. Florence, 1550-1552. — See p. 314. 

Turcicarum rerum commentarius. Paris, 1539. — See p. 313. 

Giustinlxni, Antonio. Sommario della relazione, 1514. In Alberi's 

Relazione, 3d series, iii. 45-50. Florence, 1855. 
GoDELEV^us, G. [translator of Geuffroy, q. v.]. Aulae Turcicse, Otho- 

mannicique imperii descriptio. Basel, 1569. — See p. 317. 
Goldzuier, Ign[atius]. Muhammedanisches Recht in Theorie und 

Wirklichkeit. Zeiischriflfiir Vcrgleichendc Rechtswisscnschajl, viii. 406- 

423. Stuttgart, 1889. 
The progress of Islamic science in the last three decades. Congress 

oj Arts and Science, St. Louis, igo4 (ed. H. J. Rogers), ii. 497-517. 

Boston, etc., 1906. 
Grafton, R. [translator of Geuffroy, q. v.]. The order of the great 

Turcks court of hye mcnne of war. London, 1546. — See p. 317. 
Grassi, Alfio. Charte lurque, ou organisation religieuse, civil et mili- 

taire, de I'empire ottoman. 2 vols. Paris, 1825. 
Gritti, Alvise (or Luici). See Junis Bey. 
Gritti, Andrea. Relazione, 1503. In Alberi's Relazione, 3d series, iii. 

1-43. Florence, 1855. 
Gycaud, B. La genealogie du grant Turc a present regnant. — The same 

as Spandugino, q. v. 
Halil Ganem. Les sultans ottomans, (fitudes d'Histoire Orientale.) 

2 vols. Paris, 1901-1902. 
Hammer, Joseph Von. Geschichte des osmanischen Reiches. 10 vols. 

Pest, 1827-1835. — See p. 321. 
Des osmanischen Reichs Staatsverfassung und Staatsverwaltung. 

2 vols. (vol. i, Staatsverfassung; vol. ii, Staatsverwaltung). Vienna, 

1815. — See p. 321. 
Hauser, Henri. Essai d'une bibliographic des ouvrages de XVIe siecle 

relatifs au Levant. In Recucil dc Voyages, etc., xvi. 316-320. Paris, 

1897. — See p. 308. See also Du Fresne-Canaye. 
Heidborn, a. Manuel de droit public et administratif de I'empire otto- 
man. Vienna, etc., 1909. — See pp. 321, 7,22. 
Helmolt, H. F. Weltgcschichte. 9 vols. Leipsic, etc., 1899-1907. — 

See p. 307. 
Holdich, T. H. Asia. Encyclopaedia Brilamiica. nth edition, ii. 74S- 

749. Cambridge, 1910. 
Honigerus (or Haeniger),Nicolaus [German translator of Geuffroy, g.».]. 


Huntington, Ellsworth. The fringe of verdure around Asia Minor. 

National Geographic Magazine, xxi. 761-775. Washington, 1910. 
Ibrahim Halebi. Multeka ol-ebhar. See Multeka. 
Idris, Turkish poet-historian. Quoted in Hammer's Geschichte, i. 91. 

Pest, 1827. 
lONUs Bei. See Junis Bey. 
Johnson, Mrs. [Susannah Willard]. Narrative of . . . captivity. 

Springfield, 1907. — ^ Reprinted from the 3d edition, Windsor, Vt., 

1814; ist edition, Walpole, N. H., 1796. 
Jones, Theodore F. Venice and the Porte, 1 520-1 542. Thesis in the 

Library of Harvard University. 
JORGA, N[icolae]. Geschichte der Tiirkei. Vols. i-iv. Gotha, 1908- 

Jovius, Paulus. See Giovio. 
Julien, Stanislas. Documents historiques sur les Tou-Kioue (Turcs), 

traduite du chinois. Paris, 1877. — See p. 305. 
Junis Bey (Ionus Bei), and Alvise Gritti. Opera noua la quale dechiara, 

etc. Venice, 1537. — See pp. 315, 316, and Appendix II. 
JuYNBOLL, T. W. Handleiding tot de Kennis van de mohammedanasche 

Wet. Leyden, 1903. 
Kanun-nameh, of Achmet I. In Hammer's Staatsverfassung, pp. xvii-xix. 

Vienna, 181 5. 
of Mohammed II. Translated ibid. 87-101. Vienna, 1815. — 

See p. 310. 
of Suleiman. Collected by the Mufti Ebu su'ud, 1574; translated 

in part, ibid. 384-427. Vienna, 1815. — See p. 319 and Appendix IH. 
Keane, a. H. Man, past and present. Cambridge, England, 1899. — ■ 

See p. 305. 
Keene, H. G. The Turks in India. London, 1879. 
Knolles, Richard. Generall historic of the Turkes. London, 1603. — 

Seep. 319. 
The same, entitled " Turkish History," with continuation by Paul 

Ricaut. 3 vols. London, 1687-1700. — Knolles's work runs, with 

continuous pagination, a little way into vol. ii (pp. 837-990). — See 

p. 320. 
KocHi Bey. Turkish historian. Quoted in Hammer's Geschichte, iii. 490, 

etc. Pest, 1835. 
K.OHLER, J. Die Wirklichkeit und Unwirkhchkeit des islamitischen Rechts. 

Zeitschrijt fiir Vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft, viii. 424-432. Stutt- 
gart, 1889. 
Klt)atku Bilik (Art of Government). By Yusuf Khass Hajil, 1068. See 

VAiiBERY, Uigurische Sprachmonumente, etc. 
La Broquiere, Bertrandon De. Le voyage d'outremer (1433). Edited 

by Charles Schefer, in Recueil de Voyages, etc., vol. xii. Paris, 
1892. — See p. 309. 
Lane-Poole, Stanley. A history of Egypt in the Middle Ages. London, 

1901. Seep. 305. 
The story of Turkey. London, 1886. — See p. 321. 


Lavisse, Ernest, and Rambaud, Alfred. Histoire generale du IVe siecle 
a nos jours. 12 vols. Paris, 1893-1901. — See Cahun, Rambaud. 

Lefevre, M. See Febure. 

LiBELLUS de ritu et moribus Turcarum. Wittenberg, 1530. — The same 
asTRACTATUS, etc., q. v. 

Lodge, Richard. The Close of the Middle Ages, 1273-1494. London, 

LONICERUS, Philippus. Chronicorum Turcicorum. 2 vols, (in one). Frank- 
fort, 1584. 

LuDOvisi, Daniello. Relazione, 1534. In Alberi's Rclazione, 3d series, 
i. 1-32. Florence, 1840. 

Macdonald, D. B. Moslem theology, jurisprudence, and constitutional 
theory. New York, 1903. — See p. 305. 

M.'^RSH, H. A new survey of the Turkish empire. London, 1664. 

Maurand, Jerome. Itineraire d'Antibes a Constantinople (1544). Edited 
and translated by Leon Dorez, in Recueil de Voyages, etc., vol. xvii. 
Paris, 1901. — See p. 317. 

Maurer, Caspar. Tiirckishe chronica, oder historische Beschreibung von 
der Tiircken Ursprung. Nuremberg, 1660. 

Mena\7no, Giovanni Antonio. Trattato de costumi et vita de Turchi. 
Florence, 1548. — See p. 310. 

Merriman, R. B. Gomara's annals of Charles V. Oxford, 191 2. 

Meyer, Eduard. Geschichte des Altertums. 2d edition. Vol. i (in 
2 pts.). Stuttgart, etc., 1907-1909. 

Persia. Encyclopedia Britannica. nth edition, xxi. 202-224. Cam- 
bridge, 191 1. 

Michel:, Giovanni. Relazione, 1587. In Alberi's Relazione, 3d series, 
ii. 255-294. Florence, 1844. 

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The pronunciation of the words defined should be approximately 
phonetic, the vowels by the continental system, the consonants as 
usually in English. Forms not defined are variant Western spel- 
lings. Gh is silent except at the beginning of a word. Plurals of 
nouns originally Turkish are formed by affixing -ler or -lar. The 
plurals in -s used in the foregoing pages are Anglicized. 

Achiar, or Aconiziae, see Akinji. 
Adet, established custom, 152, 161. 
Agha, a general officer. 
Aghiar, see Akinji. 
Agiamoglani, see Ajem-oghlan. 
Ajem-oghlan (untrained youth), a cadet 

or apprentice Janissary, 79 ff. 
Akinji, the irregular cavalry, 105. 
Alai Bey, a colonel of the feudal cavalry, 

Alcangi, Alcanzi, or Alengi, see Akinji. 
Allophase, see Ulufagi. 
Ameji, a receiver of petitions, etc., 183. 
Aquangi, see Akinji. 
Arpa-emini, intendant of forage, 132. 
Ashji-bashi, a chief cook, 245. 
Azab, the irregular infantry, 105. 

Bailo (Italian), a Venetian minister resi- 
dent at Constantinople. 

Bairam, the name of two great Moslem 
festivals, 136. 

Balucasi, see Boluk-bashi. 

Bascia, see Pasha. 

Bash, a head, a chief. 

Bassa, see Pasha. 

Berat, an ordinance, or document con- 
ferring a dignity or privilege. 

Berat-emini, a distributor of ordinances, 

Beylerbey (lord of lords), a general of 
feudal cavalry and governor of a prov- 
ince or group of provinces, 103. 

Beylikji, a director of the three chancery 
bureaus, 183. 

Beylik Kalemi, a bureau of the Chancery, 

Bezestan, a market house in Constanti- 
nople, built by Mohammed II. 

Bin(m)bashi (chief of a thousand), a 

Boluk-bashi, a captain of the Janissaries, 

Bostanji, a gardener. 

Bostanji-bashi, the head gardener of the 
Sultan's palace — a high official, 130. 

Cacaia, see Kiaya. 
Cadilescher, see Kaziasker. 
Cahaia, or Caia, see Kiaya. 
Calvalgibassi, see Helvaji-bashi. 
Capagasi, see Kapu-aghasi. 
Capiagabasi, see Kapuji-bashi. 
Capi (oglan), see Ghureba (oghlan). 
Caragi, see Kharaji. 
Caripicus, see Ghureba. 
Caripp (oglan), see Ghureba (oghlan). 
Caripy, see Ghureba. 
Carmandari (Italianized), muleteers, 251. 
Carzeri, see KJiaraji. 
Casnandarbasi, see Khazinchdar-bashi. 
Cavriliji (Italianized), a herdsman, 251. 
Ceyssi, see Seis. 
Chakirji, a vulturer, 252. 
Chasnejir, a taster, 245. 
Chasnejir-bashi, a chief taster, 245. 



Chaush, an usher, 130. 

Chaush-bashi, chief of the Chaushes — 

a high official, 183. 
Checaya, or Chechessi, see Kiaya. 
Chelebi, a gentleman. 
Cheri-bashi (chief of soldiery), a petty 

officer of feudal cavalry. 
Chiccaia, or Chietcudasci, see Kiaya. 
Chokadar, a page of high rank, 127. 
Ciarcagi, see Ghureba. 
Ciaus, see Chaush. 
Cogia, see Hoja. 
Coureyschs, see Koreish. 

Danishmend, a master of arts, 205. 
Dar ul-harb, home or land of war, 29. 
Dar ul-Islam, home or land of Islam, 64. 
Defterdar, a treasurer, 167 ff., 174. 
Defter-emini (intendant of account- 
books), a recorder of fiefs, 172. 
Deli, crazy (appellation of a scout or a 

captain of the Akinji). 
Dervish, a member of a Moslem rehgious 

order, 207. 
Deveji, a camel-driver, 251. 
Devshurmeh, a gathering or collecting 

(of the tribute boys), 51. 
Divan, the Ottoman council of state, 

187 ff.; a council of a great officer, 

216, note 3. 
Dulbend, or Dulipante (Italianized), a 


Emin (plural Umena), an intendant, 132. 
Emir, a descendant of the prophet 

Mohammed, 206 ff.; a commander, a 

Emir-al-.\khor, a grand equerr>', 131. 
Ersi kharajiyeh, tribute lands, 31. 
Ersi memleket, state lands, 31. 
Ersi 'ushriyeh, tithe lands, 31. 
Eski, old. 

Fetva, a response from a Mufti, 208, 223. 
Fetva-khaneh, the drafting bureau of the 

Sheik ul-Islam, 208. 
Fikh, the practical regulations of the 

Sacred Law, 153. 

Firman, an administrative ordinance' 

Gachaia, see Kiaya. 

Gharib(oglan), see Ghureba (oghlan). 

Ghureba (foreigner), a member of the 

lowest corps of the standing cavalry, 

98 and note 5. 
Gonnullu, a volimteer soldier or sailor, 

Gul-behar, rose of spring (a feminine 

proper name), 57 note 3. 

Hebegibassi, see Jebeji-bashl. 
Hekim-bashi, a chief physician, 129. 
Helvaji-bashi, a chief confectioner, 245. 
Hoja, a teacher; the Sultan's adviser, 

Holofagi, see Ulufagi. 
Humayim, imperial. 

laching, see Akinji. 

lanicerotti (Italianized), the Ajem-ogh- 

laxagi, see Yaziji. 
Ikinji Kapu-oghlan, a white eunuch in 

charge of the second gate of the plac^ 

Imam, the Caliph or lawful successor of 

Mohammed, 28, 150, 235; a leader of 

daily prayers, 206. 
Imbrahor, Imbroor, Imrakhor, or Imror, 

see Emir-al-Akhor. 
Iskemleji, a page of high rank, 244. 
Itch-oghlan (inside j'outh), a page in one 

of the Sultan's palaces, 73 ff. 

Jebeji-bashi, a chief armorer, 252. 
Jerrah-bashi, a chief surgeon, 129. 
Jizyeh, a poll or capitation tax on non- 
Moslems, 175. 

Kadi, see Kazi. 

Kadi al asker, or Kadi 1' esker, see Ka- 

Kaim, a caretaker of a mosque, 206. 
Kalem, a bureau of the Treasury, 168 ff. 
Kanun, an imperial decree, 152, 158. 



Kanuni, legislator, 27. 

Kanun-nameh, a book or collection of 
laws, 158 ff. 

Kapu Aghasi (general of the gate), the 
white eunuch in charge of the principal 
palace, 126. 

Kapudan Pasha, an admiral, 189. 

Kapuji, a gatekeeper, 130. 

Kapuji-bashi, a head gatekeeper, 126. 

Kapujilar-kiayasi, a grand chamberlain, 

Kazi, a judge, 215 fl. 

Kaziasker (judge of the army) , one of the 
two chief judges of the Ottoman Em- 
pire, 220 S. 

Ketkhuda, see Kiaya. 

Kharaj, a tax or tribute in money or 
kind on lands belonging to non-Mos- 
lems, 175. 

Kharaji, a non-Moslem who pays the 
kharij, 41. 

Khass Oda (private chamber), the high- 
est chamber of pages, 75, 126. 

Khass, a very large fief, 100. 

Khatib, a leader of Friday prayers, 206. 

Khazinehdar-bashi, a treasurer-in-chief, 

Khazineh-odassi (chamber of the treas- 
ury), the second chamber of pages, 

Khojagan, a chief of a treasury bureau, 

Khurrem, happy, joyful (a feminine 
proper name), 57. 

Kiaya (common form of ketkhuda), a 
steward or lieutenant, 96 note 4, 125. 

Kiaya-bey, the lieutenant of the grand 
vizier, 182 fT. 

Kiaya Katibi, a private secretary of the 
Kiaya-bey, 184. 

Kilerji-bashi, a chief of the sultan's 
pantry, 127. 

Kiler-odassi (chamber of the pantry), 
the third chamber of pages, 127. 

Kizlar Aghasi (general of the girls), the 
black eunuch in charge of the palace 
of the harem, 125. 

Koreish, the Arabian tribe of which 

Mohammed the prophet was a mem- 
ber, 150, 235. 
Kul, a slave; one of the sultan's slave- 
family, 47 ff. 

Masraf-shehriyari (imperial steward), 
substitute for the intendant of kitchen, 

Mawuna, or Maone (Italianized), a 
sailing vessel. 

Mecter, see Mihter. 

Medresseh, a secondary school or college, 
203 ff. 

Mekteb, a school, 203. 

Mektubji, a private secretary of the 
grand vizier, 184. 

Mihter, a tent-pitcher; a musician. 

Mihter-bashi, the chief tent-pitcher, 132. 

Mir Alem, the imperial standard bearer, 
131, 206. 

Miri-akhor, see Emir-al-Akhor. 

MoUa, a judge of high rank, 217. 

Mosellem, a fief holder by ancient tenure, 

Muderis, a professor in a Medresseh, 205. 

Muezzin, one who calls Moslems to 
prayer, 206. 

Mufettish, a special judge dealing with 
endowments, 201, 218. 

Mufti, a Moslem legal authority; in 
particular, the Sheik ul-Islam, 207 ff. 

Muhtesib, a lieutenant of police, 219. 

Mujtahid, a doctor of the Sacred Law. 

Mulazim (candidate), a graduate of the 
higher Medressehs, 205. 

Mulk, land held in fee simple, 31. 

Munejim-bashi, a chief astrologer, 129. 

Muste emin, a resident foreigner, 34. 

Mutbakh-emini, intendant of the kitch- 
en, 132. 

Muteferrika, the Noble Guard, 129. 

Muteveli, an administrator of an en- 
dowment, 201. 

Naib, an inferior judge, 218. 

Nakib oI-Eshraf, the chief of the Seids or 
descendants of the prophet Moham- 
med, 206. 



Nazir, an inspector of an endowment, 


Nishanji, a chancellor, 182 ff. 

Nizam al-mulk, basis of the order of the 

kingdom (title of a vizier of Melek 

Shah), 306. 

Oda (a room), a chamber of the pages 
or of the harem recruits; a company 
of the Janissaries. 

Oda-bashi (head of chamber), the page 
of highest rank, 244; a corporal of the 
Janissaries, 249. 

Oghlan, a youth. 

Okumak-yerleri (reading-places), prim- 
ary schools, 203. 

Orta, a company of the Janissaries. 
{See also Oda.) 

Ouloufedgis, see Ulufaji. 

Papuji, a page of high rank, 244. 

Pasha, a very high official. 

Peik, a member of the body-guard of 

halbardiers, 130. 
Podesta (Italian), a municipal judge. 

Quaia, or Queaya, see Kiaya. 

Ramazan, the Moslem month of fasting. 
Rayah, non-Moslem Ottoman subjects, 


Reis Effendi, or Reis ul-Khuttab, a re- 
cording secretary, 174; a recording 
secretary of the Divan, later an im- 
portant minister of state, 182 ff. 

Reis ul-Ulema (head of the Ulema), an 
early title of the Sheik ul-Islam, 208 
note 3. 

Rekiab-Aghalari (generals of the stirrup) , 
a group of high officers of the outside 
ser\ice of the palace, 131. 

Rusnamehji, a chief book-keeper of the 
Treasury, 168. 

Ruus Kalemi, a bureau of the Chancery, 

Sakka, a water-carrier. 

Sanjak, a flag or standard, a district. 

Sanjak Bey, a high officer of feudal, 
cavalry and governor of a Sanjak, 103. 

Saremin, see Shehr-emini. 

Sarraf, a banker. 

Scheni, see Iskemleji. 

Seferli-odassi (chamber of campaign), 
the fourth chamber of pages, 128 note 

Segban-bashi (master of the hounds), 
the second officer of the corps of Janis- 
saries, 96, 132 note 3. 

Seid, a descendant of the prophet Mo- 
hammed, 206. 

Seis, a groom, 251. 

Selicter, see Silihdar, 

Seracter, see Sharabdar. 

Serai, a palace. 

Seraskier, a commander-in-chief. 

Serraj, saddlers, 251. 

Seymen-bashi, a popular form of Segban- 
bashi, q. V. 

Shahinji, a falconer, 252. 

Sharabdar (drink-bearer), a page of high 
rank, 127. 

Shehr-emini, intendant of imperial build- 
ings, 132. 

Sheik, a preacher; a head of a religious 
community, 206. 

Sheik ul-Islam, the Mufti of Constanti- 
nople and head of the Moslem Institu- 
tion, 208 flf. 

Sheri (or Sheriat), the Moslem Sacred 
Law, 152 ff. 

Sherif, a descendant of the prophet 
Mohammed, 206. 

Sihhdar (sword-bearer), a member of 
the second corps of standing cavalry, 
98 and note 5; the page who carried 
the sultan's arms, 127. 

Sillictar, see Silihdar. 

Sipah, or Sipahi, see Spahi. 

Sofi, woolen; a dervish (an appella- 
tion of the Shah of Persia). 

Softa, an undergraduate in a Medresseh, 

Solak (left-handed) , a janissary bowman 
of the sultan's personal guard, 129. 

Spachi, see Spahi. 



Spacoillain, see Spahi-oghlan. 

Spahi, a cavalry soldier; a member of 

the standing or feudal cavalry, 47, 

q8 flf., 100 ff. 
Spahi-oghlan (cavalry youth), a member 

of the highest corps of the standing 

cavalr>', 98 and note 5. 
Spai, see Spahi. 
Subashi, a captain of the feudal cavalry 

and governor of a town, 103. 
Sukhta (inflamed), see Softa. 
Suiastrus, see Silihdar. 
Sultana, a princess or queen mother, 

125; (the true Turkish form uses a 

proper name or the word Valideh, 

followed by Sultan). 
Suluphtar, see Silihdar. 

Tahvil Kalemi, a bureau of the Chancery, 

Talisman, see Danishmend. 

Tapu, a tenant's lease or title deed, 31. 

Terjuman, an interpreter (dragoman). 

Terjuman Divani Humayun, a chief in- 
terpreter of the sultan, 183. 

Teshrifat, ceremony, 134. 

Teshrifatji, a master of ceremonies, 184. 

Teskereh, a document. 

Teskereji, a master of petitions, 184. 

Teskereji-bashi (chief of document- 
writers), the Nishanji, 184, 185., a fief of small income, 100; feudal 

Timarji, the holder of a Timar. 

Tughra, the sultan's monogram, 185. 

Ulema (plural of dlim, a learned man), 
the whole body of Moslems learned in 
the Sacred Law, 203 ff. 

Ulufaji (paid troops), a member of the 

third corps of the sultan's standing 

cavalry, q8 and note 5. 
Umena, plural of Emin. 
Urf, the sovereign will of the reigning 

sultan, 152, 162. 
'Ushr, a tithe on lands belonging to 

Moslems, 175. 

Vakf, a religious endowment, 31, 201 ff. 

Valideh, a mother. 

Veznedar, an official weigher of money, 

Vizier (burden-bearer), a minister of 

state, 163 ff. 
Voivode (Slavic), an oflScer, a governor. 

Yachinji, see Akinji. 

Yaya, a fief holder by ancient tenure, 
owing infantry service, 105. 

Yaziji, a scribe or secretary. 

Yedi-kiileh (seven towers), a strong 
castle against the land wall of Con- 
stantinople, 172. 

Yeni-cheri (new soldiery), the corps of 
the Janissaries, 91 ff. 

Yeni Oda (new chamber), the lowest 
chamber of pages in the principal 
palace, 75, 127. 

Zagarji-bashi (master of the harriers), 

a high ofiQcer of the Janissaries, 132 

note 5. 
Zanijiler (Italianized), lancers or Voi- 

naks (?), 252. 
Zarabkhane-emini, intendant of mints 

and mines, 132. 
Ziam, the holder of a Ziamet. 
Ziamct, a large fief, 100. 
Zimmi, a tributary non-Moslem subject, 




AcHMET I, 126 note i, 160 and note 5. 

Advancement based on merit, 82-86; 
in Mogul Empire, 283. 

Adviser of sullan {Iloja), 128, 218, 225. 

Afghans, in Mogul Empire, 280, 282. 

Agra, 287. 

Agricultural conditions, 144 and note 2, 
163, 177; under Moguls in India, 297, 

Akbar, Mogul emperor, 278, 281; re- 
moved poll-tax on non-Moslems, 284; 
army of, 295; presents made to, 188; 
harem of, 290; revenue system of, 
293, 294; amount of revenue of, 195; 
policy of, toward cultivators of soil, 
297; removed internal tolls, 298; tol- 
erated Hindus, 298; relation to Mo- 
hammedanism of, 302; " divine faith " 
of, 302. 

Albania, status of, 30, 33, 258, 297; 
furnished tribute boys, 52, 74. 

Ali Pasha, grand vizier of Suleiman, 
steps in promotion of, 87, 88; great 
authority, 164. 

Anatolia, 77, 79 note 4, 102, 104, 168, 
169, 220; Beylerbey of, 103-105, 189. 

Arabia, status of, 6, 30; rendering of 
justice in, 37; taxation in, 175, 176. 

Arabic language, 21, 77. 

Arabs, influence on Ottoman Empire, 
4, 20, 23; in Foreign Legion, 50; re- 
lation of, to Ottoman government, 
227, 258, 297; service of, to Mogul 
emperors, 281. 

Arbitrary taxes, 175, 176. 

Architecture, in Ottoman Empire, 23, 
24, 239-241; in Mogul Empire, 287, 

Armenian subjects, a separate organiza- 
tion, 34, 37; not liable to tribute of 
boys, 34. 

Arms, of Spahis of the Porte and Janis- 
saries, 138, 139; of Mogul infantry, 

Army — 
Of Ottoman Empire, 90-113, 194; 
principal subdivisions of, 91; the 
territorial army, 104, 105; numbers 
in, 106, 107 and note i; the supreme 
command of, 109-111; indivisibil- 
ity of, 111-113. 
Of Mogul emperors, 279, 285-287; 
compared with Ottoman army, 285. 

Artillery of Mogul emperors, 286. 

Asia Minor, Occidental influence in, 7; 
occupation of, by Turks, 5, 14 £f., 35, 
227; defined, 14 note i; teachers 
from, 77; Janissary apprentices sent 
to, 79; heretics in, 210. See Anatolia. 

Astrologer of sultan, 129. 

Audiences, of Suleiman, loi; of Aurang- 
zeb, 289, 296; of Humayun, 296. 

Aurangzeb, Mogul emperor, compared 
with Suleiman, 278, 302; a zealous 
^Moslem, 284, 298, 302; army of, 286, 
287; audiences of, 289, 296; sisters 
of, 291; views on government of, 292; 
in civil wars, 293; revenue of, 295; 
reimposed capitation tax on non-Mos- 
lems, 295; education of, 300, 301. 

Austria, raided, 29, 50; paid tribute 
to Suleiman, 30, 177; wars of, with 
Ottoman Empire, 112, 113. 

Baber, founder of Mogul Empire, house 
of, compared with house of Osman, 
278, 292, 293, 299 {see Timur, house 
of); followers of, 279; character of, 
280; family life of, 281; treatment of 
Moslem subjects by, 298. 

Babylon, 4. 

Bairam, feast of, 135, 136, 140. 




Balkan peninsula, 6, 51, 103. See Al- 
banians, Bulgarians, Rumelia, Ser- 

Bangash tribe of Afghans, 281, 282. 

Battle, order of, 100, 104. 

Bayezid II, circumstances of deposition 
of, 94; gave kiillar their own justice, 
116; honor shown the Mufti by, 209. 

Bayezid, son of Suleiman, execution of, 
94, 95, 142, 143; war against, 136. 

Bedchamber, gentlemen of the, 75-78, 
126, 127. 

Body-guards, 129. 

Bondage, American colonial, compared 
with Ottoman slavery, 60 note 7. 

Booty, 176, 178. 

Bosra, 31. 

Brahmins, 282, 298. 

Buddhist influence on Mogul Empire, 

Bulgarians, 16, Z2>, 35, 74- 

Bureaucratic tendencies, 19, 32, 186, 

Bureaus, of the Treasur>^, 168 ff.; of 
the Chancery, 183; of the Mufti, 208. 

Busbecq, opinion of, on Ottoman educa- 
tion, 74, 86; dealings with Janissaries, 
96; witnessed ceremonies, 136-141; on 
execution of Mustapha, 213. 

Byzantine Empire, disintegration of, in 
13th century, 6; bequest of, to Otto- 
man Turks, 4, 21, 24, 227. 

Caliph, as Imam, 28, 157, 163 note i; 

the sultan as, 150; Suleiman as, 234. 
Canon law, of Roman Catholic Church, 

157; of Moslems, see Sacred Law. 
Capitation tax, 21, 170, 175, 284. 
Caucasus, slaves from, 16, 34, 50, 57, 

281 . See Circassia, Georgia, ]Mingrelia. 
Cavalry — 

Of Ottoman Empire, regular, see 
Spahis of the Porte; feudal, 100- 
105; irregiilar, 105-107. 

Of Mogul Empire, regular, 285; feudal, 
285, 286. 
Ceremonies of the Court, 133-141; law 

of, 134, 158. 

Chancellor, 182-187, 189, 248. 
Chancery, bureaus of, 183; personnel 

of, 186, 187. 
Charles V, Emperor, relations of, with 

Suleiman, 112, 113 and note 4. 
China, influence of, on Turks and Mon- 
gols, 5, 19, 118. 
Christians, converted and incorporated 
as Turks, 8, 14-17, 63-68; not entrusted 
with great power, 62; right to practise 
their religion, 211, 212. See Renegade 
Christian subjects of Ottoman Empire, 
protected by Sacred Law, 26, 212; 
position of, 34; subject to levy of 
male children, 51-55; relation of, to 
Sultan, 151; legislation regarding, 
159, 160 note i; taxation of, 170, 175; 
church lands of, 172; Selim I's attempt 
to convert forcibly, 211, 212; treat- 
ment of, in courts, 222. 
Circassia, slaves from, :^2> i^ote 2, 57, 74, 

Civil war, in Ottoman Empire, 94; in 

Mogul Empire, 293, 301. 
Clerg}', Moslem, 206. 
Codifications, of ^Moslem Sacred Law, 
152, 153, 292; of sultans' legislation, 
Colleges, of pages, 73-79; of education, 

Comparison of the Ruling Institution 
and the Moslem Institution, 227-236; 
likenesses, 227-230; differences, 230- 
232; relative power, 232-236. 
Confiscations, 55, 172, 178, 179. 
Conservatism, in regard to taxation, 
177; in education, 204; of the two 
great institutions compared, 230, 232, 
233. See Custom. 
Constantinople described, 239-241. 
Constitution, the Sacred Law a form of, 
27, 28, 150, 156, 157, 175, 193, 209, 
Conversion to Mohammedanism, in Asia 
Minor, 15 ff.; by Ottoman Turks, 33, 
67; by the Ruling Institution, 62-71; 
meaning of, 62, 63; why encouraged, 



63-66; not usually forcible, 63 and note 
2, 66 and note 3, 67; sincerity of, un- 
certain, 68-69; in India, 284. 

Corruption, official, 32, 39, 86, 144, 161, 
177; judicial, 222. 

Costumes, 134, 135. 

Counsellors-at-law, see Jurists. 

Court — 
Of the sultan, 120-145; separation of 
men and women, 121; organization j 
of household, 123; the harem, 124- 
126; the inside service, 126-128; 
the outside service, 128-133; cere- 
monies of, 133-141; influence of, 
Of Mogul emperors, 287-291. 

Courts of justice, the Divan, 187-193, 
221; of the Grand Vizier, 166, 221; 
of the Kaziaskcrs, 220; of present-day 
Turkey, 154 note 2; procedure of, 
219-221; venality of, discussed, 222, 
223; the law administered by, 223. 

Crimean Tartary, status, 30; rendering 
of justice in, 37, 216; slaves sent from, 
50; Selim I married princess from, 
58 note 2; contingent furnished by, 
106; Khan of, pensioned, 171. 

Croatians, 34. 

Crusades, 6-9, 227. 

Cursus honortitn, of Ruling Institution 
illustrated, 87, 88; of Moslem Insti- 
tution, 212 and note i, 235. 

Custom, power of, 19, 21, 27, 230. 

Customary law, 152, 161, 162, 223. 

Decentralization, tendency toward, 

32,38, 174. 
Delhi, Moslem capital of India, 280, 

285, 287, 299, 300. 
Dem.ocracy, 84, 198, 225. 
Dervishes, 37, 207, 300. 
Descendants of Mohammed the Prophet 

(Seids), 37, 206, 207, 225, 300. 
Despotism, in Ottoman Empire, 25-27, 

46,48,55,151,159,174,193; in Mogul 

Empire, 279, 292. 
Dil-Dar, wife of Baber, 290.. 
Discipline, of Janissaries, 96, 97 and 

note i; of army generally, 108, 109; 
of Ruling Institution, 196. 

Divan, 135, 166, 187-193; membership 
of, 188-190; sessions of, 189-191; 
general character of, 191-193; com- 
parison with audiences of Aurangzeb, 
296; of the Grand Vizier, 166; of 
lesser officials, 216 note 3. 

Domain lands, 31, 169, 171, 172, 176. 

Donatives to Janissaries, 92 and note 5. 

Ebu su'ud, the Mufti, 120, 212 and 
note 2, 213; table of contents of his 
collection of Suleiman's laws, 276, 

Education — 
Of members of Ruling Institution, 
71-88, 196, 197; comprehensiveness 
of, 71, 72; classification of, 73. 
Of members of ^Moslem Institution, 
203-206, 225; comparison of above 
systems, 228, 229, 234, 235. 
Of Moslems in India, 300. 

Egypt, unable to unify Levant, 10; 
status of, 30; inhabitants of, 33; Janis- 
saries of, 95; legislation for, 159, 160; 
taxation of, 176; Mamelukes of, 280. 

Emancipation of slaves, 48, 60. 

Endowments, religious and charitable, 
31, 32, 200-203, 234 and note i, 235, 

Equerries, 131. 

Equity in Turkey, 223. 

Eugene, Prince, 287. 

Eunuchs, 57, 125-128. 

Execution, grounds of, 88; of Mustapha, 
89, 94, 95, 142, 213; of Bayezid and 
Ibrahim, 89, 94, in, 141, 142; of 
grand viziers, 167; process of, 210, 
221; policy of, 222. 5ec Fratricide. 

Expenditures of government, 178, 179. 

E.xtortion, 32, 86, 144, 163, 182. 

Fatehpcr-Sikri, 287, 302. 

Ferdinand I, Archduke and Emperor, 

30, 1X2. 

Feudal cavalry — 
Of Ottoman Empire, 100-105; rights 



of, loo; obligations of, loi; officers 
of, 103-105. 
Of Mogul Empire, 280, 285, 286. 

Feudal system of Ottomans, 21, 24, 100- 
105, 176, 181 and note 2; law of, 152, 
159-161; of Mogul Empire, 285, 286. 

Fiefs, origin of, 21, 24, 31, 32; reorgan- 
ized by Suleiman, 102; vacancies, 178. 

Fleet, 171, 178, 179. 

Foreign affairs, minister of, 183-185. 

Foreign Legion, 50, q8, 99 note i. 

Foreigners in Ottoman Empire, privi- 
leges of, 35, 37, 38; relation of, to sul- 
tan, 151; taxation of , 176, 177. 

Foundations, see Endowments. 

Fratricide of Ottoman sultans, 27 and 
note 2, 94 and note 2; not authorized 
in Mogul Empire, 293. 

Gardener, the head, 81, 130, 131. 

Generals {Aghas), of the Janissaries, 
96; of the Spahis, 99; of the army, 
no; of the sultan's harem, 125; of 
the imperial stirrup, 131 ; in the Divan, 
189, 191. 

Genghis Khan, 280. 

Georgia, status of, 30; ?'aves furnished 

by, 33- 

Ghazali, 221. 
Government — 
Of Ottoman Empire, described, 146- 
198; rested on old political ideas, 4; 
functions of, 147, 148; limitation 
to its own affairs, 149, 174, 175; 
compared with Mogul govenmient, 
278 ff. 
Of Mogul Empire, of inferior strength 
and durabiUty, 278-279; described, 
292-298. See Local government. 
Governors of provinces, in Ottoman 
Empire (Beylerbeys), 103, 174, 187, 
189, 191, 207, 216, 219, 220; in Mogul 
Empire (Naibs), 296, 297. 
Grand vizier, 164-167, 189-191, 220, 
221, 229; none in Mogul Empire, 296. 
Greek Orthodox subjects, a separate 
organization, 34, 37; the sultan their 
temporal head, 151. 

Gritti, Alvise (or Luigi), household of, 
58 note 4; given command in Hun- 
gary, 62; testimony of, as to Sulei- 
man's income, 179; pamphlet of (with 
Junis Bey), 262-275. 

Gul-Badan, daughter of Baber, 281, 290. 

Hantfa, Abu, 152, 224. 

Harem — 
Of Suleiman, organization of, 56; 
recruited from slaves, usually Chris- 
tian, 56, 57; number of women in, 
56; education of recruits for, 78, 
79; officers of, 125; Suleiman's 
mother, consorts, and daughter, 
Of Mogul emperors, 290, 291. 

Harem intrigue, 121, 165. 

Harun Al-Rashid, 295. 

Heads of executed persons, 221. 

Heredity of privilege and office dis- 
couraged, 66, 1 1 7-1 20; how permitted 
to feudal cavalry, loi; in Mogul 
Empire, 286. 

Heretics, Moslem, 210, 211. 

Hindus, influence of, on Mogul Empire, 
279; in service of Mogul emperors, 
281, 286; their religion tolerated, 
298; condition of, compared with that 
of Moslem subjects, 299. 

Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina, 30, 
125, 153, 169, 171, 228, 284. 

Holy war, 209. 

Household of the sultan, 123-133; or- 
ganization of, 123; the harem, 124- 
126; the inside service, 126-128; the 
outside service, 128-133; number in, 


Humayun, Mogul emperor, orders of 
nobility of, 282, 283; artillery of, 286; 
attendants of, at court, 288; in civil 
war, 293; ministers of state of, 295; 
audiences of, 296. 

Hungary, 30, 33, 51, 74, 178; adminis- 
tration of, 176; small proportion of 
Moslems in, 284. 

Huns, 10, 20. 

Hunting organization, 132. 



iBRAimi Halkbt, 153. 

Ibrahim Pasha, grand vizier, treatment 
of parents, 53; estate of, taken by 
Suleiman, 55; vast power of, 83, 164, 
167; made Seraskicr, no; execution 
of, 89, III, 141; proposes to settle 
Lutheran controversy, 113; chief 
falconer, 132; marriage of, 136 note 
2; other references, 62, 246, 265. 

Ideas, not racial descent, the basis of 
Ottoman Empire, 3 ff., 228; illus- 
trated in Mogul Empire, 279-283. 

Immunity from taxation, of the kullar, 
35, 66, 114, lis; of the Ulema, 35, 
118, 119, 203, 206. 

Imperial family, in Ottoman Empire, 
56-58; in Mogul Empire, 281, 290, 


Income of Suleiman, 179-182, 260; of 
Mogul emperor, 293-295. 

Incorporating spirit, of early Ottomans, 
16; of Tatars, 18; of Ottoman Turks, 
64 and note 3; of Moslems and By- 
zantines, 65; of Ruling and Moslem 
Institutions, 228. 

India, absorbs gold and silver, 294; 
influence of, upon Mogul Empire, 279; 
prosperity of, under Akbar, 298. 

Infantry — 

Of Ottoman Empire, regular, see 

Janissaries; irregular, 105-107. 
Of Mogul Empire, 285. 

Inside service, 126-128. 

Institutions of government in Ottoman 
Empire, 25, 35-38; compared with 
Mogul institution, 278, 279. Sec 
Moslem Institution, and Ruling In- 

Intcndants, 132. 

Interest, lawful only for funds of mos- 
ques, 201 note 3. 

Interpreters, 130, 183. 

Iranians, 13 and notes 3, 4. 

Irregular troops, 50, 105-107. 

Iskender Chelebi, Dcfterdar, estate of, 
taken by Suleiman, 55; educational 
system and armed household of, 59. 

Issus, battle of, 7. 

Janissaries, described, 47, 91-97; re- 
ligious character of, 68, 69; rule 
against admission of their sons broken 
down, 69 note 3; not supposed to 
marry, 70; uprisings of, 92; conquests 
limited by, 93; influence of ujion suc- 
cession to the throne, 93-95; number 
of, 95 and note 3; organization and 
officers of, 95, 96; promotions of, 96; 
appearance of, 138, 139; finances of, 
169, 179; other references, 249, 250, 
266, 267. 

Janissary apprentices {ajem-oghlans), 
education of, 79-82; rewards of, 82, 
83; punishments of, 88; other refer- 
ences, 47, 73, 129, 254, 255, 269, 270. 

Jehan-Ara, daughter of Shah-Jehan, 

Jehangir, son of Suleiman, 142, 143 note 

Jehangir, Mogul emperor, elephants of, 
286; ceremony of weighing of, 288, 
289; harem of, 290; sense of respon- 
sibility of, 292; in civil war, 293. 

Jelal ad-din Rumi, 118. 

Jemali, the Mufti, 211, 212. 

Jerbe, victory of, 89. 

Jewish subjects, not liable to tribute of 
boys, 34; have separate organization, 
34, 37; the sultan their legal head, 
151; Ramberti's testimony regarding, 

Judges — 

General description of, 216-223; clas- 
sification of, 216-219; venality of, 
discussed, 222, 223; the law ad- 
ministered by, 223; power of, over 
individuals, 224. 
Grand vizier, 165, 189-191, 220, 221. 
Kaziaskcrs, in Divan, 167, 189-191; 
duties, 217-220; other references, 
225, 247, 263. 
Special, for endowments, 201, 218. 
In Mogul Empire, 297, 300. 

Junis Bey, chief interpreter of Suleiman, 
testimony of, as to Suleiman's income, 
179; pamphlet of (with .AJnse Gritti), 



Jurisconsults or jurists {muftis), 207- 
2i5> 225, 303; their chief {Sheik ul- 
Islam), 151, 208 S., 247, 299. 

Jurisprudence, Moslem, 153-155. 

Justice, systems of, in general, 34-36, 
216; of the Janissaries, 97; of the 
kidlar, 116; of the Ulema, 203; of the 
Seids, 206, 207; of the Moslem In- 
stitution, 215-224; in India, 297, 300. 

Justinian, 6, 158. 

Kara Khalil Chendereli, traditional 
founder of Janissaries, 63, 64, 117. 

Khaireddin Barbarossa, 246. 

Khosrew Pasha, 152. 

Khurrem (or Roxelana), wife of Sulei- 
man, 56-58, 95, 126, 141-143, 213- 

Kitchen service, 129. 

Kiuprilis, 165. 

Koran, 40, 42, 152, 214, 223, 300. 

Koreish, 150, 235. 

Kurdistan, 30. 

Kurds, 105, 106, 296.. 

Land system, outline of, 28-32; com- 
plication of, 32, 175, 176. 

Law, classification of, 152; of Cere- 
monies, 134; of Subjects, Fiefs, Egypt, 
and Fines and Punishments, 159, 160. 
See also Sacred Law. 

Law schools, 203-205. 

Lawyers, none in Turkey, 208, 223. 

Learned associates of sultans, 128, 129, 
218, 225. 

Legislation, 27, 150-163; of the sultans 
generally, 157-158; of Mohammed 
II, 158, 159; of Suleiman, 32, 159- 
161; of the jurists through /e/zja^, 214. 

Lepanto, battle of, 95, 143. 

Local government — 

In Ottoman Empire, officers of, 103- 
105, 256-260, 270-272; justice in, 
In Mogul Empire, 294, 296, 297. 

Mahmud of Ghazni, 280, 283. 
Malta, 143, 145. 
Malversations, 177, 294. 

Mamelukes of Egypt: how recruited, 
Sy, duration of rule, 280. 

March, order of, 274, 275. 

Master of ceremonies, 184. 

Masters of the hunt, 132. 

Mediterranean civilization, 7, 279. 

Menzikert, battle of, 7. 

Merit the basis of advancement, 82-86; 
also in Mogul Empire, 283. 

Mesopotamia, 31. 

Michael of the Pointed Beard, 117, 118. 

Mihrmah, daughter of Suleiman, 126, 
142, 143. 

Mines, 132, 171, 176. 

Mingrelia, status of, 30; slaves fur- 
nished by, 33, 57, 289. 

Missionary motive of Ruling Institu- 
tion, 62-71. 

Mogul emperor's authority, original 
feudal bond, 279, 280; commander- 
in-chief of army, 285; despot, 298. 

Mogul Empire, less durable than Otto- 
man, 278, 279; government of, 278- 
303; financial greatness of, 295. 

Mohacs, battles of, 177, 278. 

Mohammedanism, relation to Christian- 
ity, 8, 68; effect on Turkish character, 
8; bequest of, to Ottoman Turks, 21, 
227 ff.; missionary energy of, 63, 64, 

Moldavia, 30, 52 note i, 106, 129, 178, 

Mohammed II, the Conqueror, quota- 
tion from letter of. to Uzun Hassan, 
title page, 64; his Kaniin of fratricide, 
94 and note 2, 142; dined alone, 122 
and note 3; built palace, 123; adopted 
ceremonies, 134; ordered Sacred Law 
codified, 152; legislation of, 158, 159; 
organized the Treasury, 168; insti- 
tuted tax- farming, 177; regulated 
education of Moslem Institution, 203; 
rule of as to jurisdiction of Kaziaskers, 

Mohammed Piri Pasha, grand vizier, 

Mohammed Sokolli, grand vizier, 120, 
164, 165, 167. 



Mohammed the Prophet, tradition of, 
152; descendants of, 206, 225, 300; 
completed Sacred Law, 209; granted 
toleration to Christian subjects, 212; 
represented by judges, 220; founder 
of Moslem system, 224, 235; deriva- 
tion of ideas, of, 227. 

Mongols, relation of, to Turks, 12; in- 
vasion of, 15; empire of, 280. See 

Morocco, 30. 

Moslem-bom subjects, not admitted 
to high office, 40-44, 66; pressure of, 
to enter Ruling Institution, 69 note 
3, 117, 120, 195, 231; persistent loyalty 
of, 300. 

Moslem Institution of the Ottoman 
Empire, antecedents of, 21; general 
description of, 36, 37, 199, 200, 224- 
226; institutions parallel to, 37; re- 
lation of, to Ruling Institution, 38; 
contemporary descriptions of, 38-44; 
Suleiman its head, 151; received sul- 
tan's fifth of booty, 178; the Divan 
its cap-stone, 188; financial support 
of, 200-203; educational system of, 
203-206; clergy, seids, and dervishes, 
206, 207; jurists and the Mufli, 207- 
215; democratic spirit of, 225; com- 
parison of with Ottoman Ruling In- 
stitution, 227-236; cumulative in- 
fluence of, 234; needed support of 
Ruling Institution, 235; comparison 
of, with Moslem church in India, 300- 

Moslems in India, 283, 284, 299-303; 

not in dose touch with emperors, 299, 

300; had no powerful chief, 299, 302; 

their educational system, 300. 
Mosques, 24, 202, 240, 300. 
Muhammad Khan, Nawab of Famikha- 

bad, 2S1, 282. 
Mumtaz-Mahal, empress of India, 281, 

Murad II, sultan, appearance, 17 note 

4; simplicity of life, 134. 
Mustapha, eldest son of Suleiman, 

mother of, 57 note 3, 126; execution 

of, 89, 94, 95, 142, 213; character of, 
95 note 2; ceremony at circumcision 
of, 136. 

Neniiphar, or Nilufer, bride of Orchan, 


Nobility, of the kullar, 84, 85, 1 14-120; 
of the Seids, 118, 206, 207; of the 
Ulema, 118, 119, 203; in the Mogul 
Empire, 282. 

Noble Guard (Mukferrika), 78, 129, 140, 

Non-Moslem subjects, 34. See Chris- 
tian subjects, Jewish subjects, etc. 

North Africa, status of, 6, 30, 38; in- 
habitants of, S3'y rendering of justice 
in, 37, 216; Janissaries of, 95; Sulei- 
man desires to unify, 113 and note i. 

Notarial work, 219. 

Nur-Jchan (or Nur-Mahal), empress of 
India, 281, 290, 291. 

Old Testament, ideas of, in Moham- 
medanism, 8. 

Orchan, sultan, 17 and note 4. 

Osman I (Othman), sultan, 4, 6, 16 and 
note I, 242, 272, 273; house of , com- 
pared with that of Timur, 278, 281, 

Ottoman Empire, based on ideas, not 
race, 4; rapidity of growth, 6; char- 
acter and mission, 7-10; definition, 
25; lands comprised in, 6, 28-32; 
peoples governed by, 33-35; compari- 
son of, with Mogul Empire, 278 ff. 

Ottoman Ruling Institution, see Ruling 

Ottoman Turks, racial descent of, 10- 
18; unification of Levant by, 9; early 
history of, 15 ff.; a mixed race, 16, 
17; sources of culture of, 18-24. 

Outside service, 128-133. 

Pages, the colleges of, 73-79; the three 
palaces of, 74; course of training of, 
75-78; graduation of, 75; rewards of, 
82; punishments of, 88; age of their 
dismissal postponed, 120; duties of, 



in the palace service, 126, 127; Ram- 

berti's description of, 244. 
Palace-guards, 130. 
Palaces of Suleiman, principal palace, 

74, 79, 123, 124, 243, 262; palace of 

the harem (Old Palace), 124, 253, 268, 

269; other palaces, 74, 79, 254, 269; 

accounts of the palaces, 128. 
Panipat, battles of, 278, 299. 
Parthians, 4, 11 note i, 13 and note 4. 
Patriarch of Constantinople, 151. 
Pensions, in Ottoman Empire, 32, 183; 

in Mogul Empire, 285, 294, 302. 
Persian language, 21, 77. 
Persians, bequests of, to Ottoman Turks, 

4, 20, 21, 23, 33, 175; blockade of 
Ottoman trade-routes by, 7; could 
not lawfully be enslaved, 29; wars 
of, with Ottoman Empire, 112, 113; 
support of Mogul emperors by, 280, 28 1 . 

Personality of law, 28, 34, 35. 

Physicians of sultan, 129. 

Plato, 45, 71. 

Police, Janissaries as, 93; minister of, 

183; lieutenants of, 219. 
Poll-tax, see Capitation tax. 
Pope, compared with Mufti, 42, 209, 213. 
Portuguese blocked Ottoman sea-trade, 

7 ; served Mogul emperors, 281 ; 

brought gold and silver to India, 294. 
Primary schools, 203, 204. 
Printing in Turkey, 223. 
Punishments, in Ruling Institution, 88, 

89, 197. 

Queen mother, 56, 57, 122 note i, 125. 

Ragusa, 30, 178. 

Rajputs, in service of Mogul emperors, 

281, 282; at war, 295, 299, 300; their 

Rajahs, 281, 286, 207, 301. 
Raushan-Ara, daughter of Shah-Jehan, 

Reformation, 9, 10, 113. 
Religious " communities," origin of, in 

Turkey, 20; when organized, 34 note 

5. See Armenian subjects, Greek 
subjects, and Jewish subjects. 

Renegade Christians, given chief ofl&ces 
of Ottoman Empire, 39-44, 62-71; 
unfavorable view of thv^ir character, 
42; counted as Turks, 70; total num- 
ber made by Ruling Institution, 70; 
KLhosrew Pasha learned in Moslem 
law, 152; other references, 167, 186. 

Revenues, of Suleiman, 179-182 ; of 
Mogul emperors, 293-295. 

Revolution, right of, 26, 157, 209, 233. 

Rivalry of Ruling and Moslem Institu- 
tions, 38, 233-236. 

Roman Empire, 6; its influence on 
Turks, 150, 279-281. See Byzantine 

Roumania, 52 note i. See Moldavia, 
and Wallachia. 

Roxelana, see Khurrem. 

Ruling Institution, antecedents of, 23; 
general description of, 36, 45-47, 193- 
198; institutions parallel to, 37; re- 
lation of, to Moslem Institution, 38; 
not clearly understood by certain 
historians, 38, 39; contemporary 
descriptions of, 39-44; component 
parts of, 47; number of personnel of, 
49 and note 4; advancement by merit 
in, 82-88; break-down of system of, 
43, 69 note 3, 120; relation of, to rest 
of Empire, 133; influenced by Sulei- 
man's splendor, 144; the Divan its 
cap-stone, 188; comparison of, uith 
Moslem Institution, 227-236; arti- 
ficiahty of, 231; support of Moslem 
Institution by, 233, 235. See also 
chapter headings. 

Rum, Seljuks of, 6, 16. 

Rumelia, 104, 168, 169, 220; Beylerbey 
of, 103, 105, 189. 

Russia, 29, 57, 74. 

Rustem Pasha, grand vizier, armed 
household of, 59; liberal religious 
views of, 68; wealth of, 87 note i; 
attitude of, toward Janissaries, 97; 
sale of offices by, 115, 116; suspected 
of influencing Mustapha's execution, 
213; other references, 53 note 3, 142, 
164, 167. 



Sacred Law of Islam, scope of, 21, 
156, 235; limitation of despotism by, 
257 26, 157; character of, 152-157; 
sketch of history of, 152, 153; lacic of 
elasticity of, 27, 156, 157, 215; Sulei- 
man's observance of, 163; how de- 
veloped by fdvas, 214; precei)ts of, 
both ciril and criminal, 216; relation 
of, to Moslem Institution, 225; spirit 
of freedom in, 230; not so much re- 
garded in Mogul Empire, 279, 292, 
293, 302. 

St. Sophia, church of, 24, 202, 239. 

Sale of office, 115, 116, 179. 

Saracens, Empire of, 5, 6, 14; bequest 
of, to Ottoman Empire, 21-23; com- 
parison of, with Turks, 231. 

Scholasticism, Moslem, 8, 9, 215, 228. 

Scouts, 105. 

Scytliians, 11 note i, 12, 13 note 3. 

Seal, the imperial, 165. 

Selim I, the Cruel, or the Grim, not 
given to sensuality, 56; said to have 
executed seven viziers, 88; circum- 
stances of accession of, 94, 142; effect 
of conquests of, 112, 228, 233, 234; 
punishmentof heresy by, 210; attempt 
of, to convert Christian subjects for- 
cibly, 211, 298. 

Selim II, the Sot, 95, in, 136, 143, 165. 

Seljuk Empire, 5, 7, 119; occupation 
of Asia INIinor by, 14 ff.; bequest of, 
to Ottoman Turks, 4, 23, 227; sim- 
plicity of life in, 133. 

Ser\'ians, 34. 

Shah-Jehan, Mogul emperor, constructs 
Peacock Throne, 289; defeats Nur- 
Jchan, 291; civil war of sons of, 293. 

Sher Shah, 293. 

Simplicity of life among Seljuks and 
early Ottomans, 133, 134. 

Slave-Families of Ottoman subjects, 58, 
59; conversion encouraged in, 67. 

Slave-Family of the sultan, 36, 39-44, 
47-58; age of admission to, 48; 
methods of recruiting for, 49-53; 
number of members of, 49 and note 4; 
status of members of, 55; faithfulness 

of, 65; education of, 71 CF.; constituted 
standing army, 90 and note 4; honors 
and privileges of, 1 14-120; influence 
of, upon government, 149. 
Slavery — 

Of Turks in Saracen Empire, 22. 
In Ottoman Empire, sources of supply 
for, 29, 30; mainly of European 
Christians, 33; provided high ofli- 
cials, 39-44; character of, 60, 61; 
comparison of, with American colo 
nial bondage, 60 note 7; color line 
not drawn, 60; emancipation fre- 
quent, 61; attitude of converted 
slaves to Sacred Law, 230. 
In Mogul Empire, 280-282, 284. 
Slavs, Southern, 33, 52, 74. See Bul- 
garians, Croatians, and Serxaans. 
Sovereign will of sultan, 162, 163. 
Spaliis of the Porte, described, 47, re- 
cruiting of, from pages, 78, 98-100; 
organization of, 98, 99; number of, 
99 and notes 3, 4; appearance of, 138, 
139; finances of, 169, 179; other ref- 
erences, 250, 251, 267. 
Splendor — 
Of Suleiman, 133-141, 195; its effect, 

144, 145- 
Of Mogul emperors, 287-291; its 
effect, 297, 298. 

Stable ser\ace, 131. 

State lands, 31, 32. 

Steppe lands, 5, 11, 231. 

Stirrup, generals of imperial, 131. 

Studies — 
In the colleges of pages, 76, 77. 
In the imperial harem, 79. 
Of the Ajem-oghlans, 81 and note 3. 
In schools, 203; in colleges, 203 and 
note 4; in law schools, 204 and note 
Of Aurangzeb, 300, 301. 

Succession to throne, in Ottoman Em- 
pire, 93-95; in Mogul Empire, 293. 

Suleiman the Magnificent, limitations 
on despotic power of, 26-28; family 
life of, 56-58; said to have labored at 
a trade, 76 note 5; self-command of. 



89; execution of Mustapha by, 89, 
94, 142, 312; execution of Bayezid 
and Ibrahim by, 89, 94, iii, 141, 142; 
reorganization of feudal system by, 
102; appointment of Ibrahim as 
Seraskier by, no; relations of, to 
Charles V and Ferdinand of Austria, 
112, 113; promotion of Ibrahim and 
Rustem by favor of, 120; mother, 
consorts, and daughter of, 126; au- 
thority of, as caHph, 150; head of all 
institutions, 151; legislation of, 32, 
152-163; attitude of, to Sacred Law, 
163; ceased to preside at Divan, 188; 
treatment of criminals by, 221, 222; 
relation of, to power of great institu- 
tions, 234; endowments of, 235 and 
note i; head of Moslems of Empire, 

Sultan's authority, head of Ruling 
Institution, 46; master of slave- 
family, 55; commander-in-chief of 
the army, 109, no; head of state and 
government, 150, 151; head of Mos- 
lem Institution, 151; subject to 
Sacred Law, 157; legislative power, 
i57j 158; unworthiness of character 
irrelevant, 163 note i, 233; consulta- 
tion with the Mufti, 210-214; com- 
parison of relations to the two great 
institutions, 229; supported by Sacred 
Law, 233. 

Syria, 31. 

Szigeth, campaign of, in. 

Taj Mahal, 291. 

Tartars of the Crimea, see Crimean 

Tatars, definition, 11, 12; bequests to 
Ottoman Turks, 18; political organi- 
zation, 19; influence on Mogul Em- 
pire, 279, 280. 

Taxation, 175-182; inelasticity of, 177. 

Tent-pitchers, 132. 

Theodosius I, 9, 158. 

Timariotes, see Feudal cavalry. 

Timur (Tamerlane), character of, 280; 
house of, compared with that of 

Osman, 272, 281, 299. See Baber, 

house of. 
Tithe lands, 31, 32. 
Todar Mai, 281, 293. 
Transylvania, 30, 178. 
Treasure, of Suleiman, 172; of Prince 

of Gujarat, 178; of Mogul emperors, 

Treasurers, of the household, 127; of 

the Empire (Defterdars) , 167-172, 

189, 191, 247, 265; in Mogul Empire, 

294, 297. 
Treasury, twenty-five bureaus of, 168- 

172; characteristics of, 173, 174; 

personnel of, 186, 187. 
Tributary provinces, 30; condition of 

inhabitants of, 33; government of, 


Tribute, 178. 

Tribute boys, increased the number of 
Turks, 16, 70; regions from which 
taken, 34, 51; process of levying, 51, 
52; estimate of the system, 53, 54; 
ultimate effect, 69-71, 231; not levied 
by Mogul government in India, 279, 
281, 282. 

Tribute lands, 31, 32. 

Tit-kiu, Empire of, 13, 14, 19. 

Turanians, 12, 13 note 3. 

Turki followers of Mogul emperors, 280, 

Turkish language, 18, 77, 79. 

Turks, in Western Asia, 5, 14 ff.; re- 
lation of, to Mongols, 12; relation of, 
to Caucasians, 11 and note 2; com- 
parison of, with Saracens, 231; Ram- 
berti's account of origin of, 242; in- 
fluence of, on Mogul Empire, 279. 
See Ottoman Turks, and Seljuk 

Unification of territories by Ottoman 
Turks, 9, 10. 

United Greek subjects, a separate or- 
ganization, 34. 

United States of America, compared 
with Ottoman Empire, 3, 28, 45, 58, 
209, 213. 



Unnatural vices, 75 note 6, 232. 
Uses (legal term), 32, 202, 
Ushers, 130, 
Uzun Hassan, 64. 

Vassal states, of Ottoman Empire, 29, 

30; of Mogul Empire, 297. 
Venality, of Ottoman oflicials, 39, 69; 

of Ottoman justice, 222. 
Venice, 30, 178, 179. 
Vienna, siege of, 93, 143. 
Viziers, 163-167, 189-191 ; Ramberti's 

account, 246. 
Voinaks, 131. 
Volunteer soldiers, 102, 106. 

Wallachia, 30, 52 note i, 106, 129, 
178, 297. 

War, declaration of, 26, 209. 

Wealth, accumulation of, discouraged, in 
private citizens, 59; allowed to high 
officers, 86, 87, 260; of Rustem Pasha, 
87 note I, 161; of Mogul Empire, 
278, 287, 295. 

Western Europe, not interested in East 
after Crusades, 10; comparison with 
Ottoman Empire, 35, 36, 74, 94, 121, 
157, 179, 204, 222. 

Women, had no part at Ottoman Court, 
121; more prominent in Mogul Em- 
pire, 281, 290, 291. 


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